USPTO Nominee Michelle Lee Goes Before Senate Judiciary Committee
This week Michelle Lee, the former Head of Patent and Patent Strategy at Google and current Acting Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), went before the United States Judiciary Committee for a hearing to be confirmed as the agency's Director. Many expected Lee to be confirmed by the end of 2014, though this week's hearing revealed that there is not enough time in the legislative session. The committee's current chairman, Senator Patrick Leahy (VT), expressed hope that Ms. Lee could be confirmed by the end of January.
The broad topic of patent reform, and more specifically the abusive practices of certain bad actors that have become known as "patent trolls," dominated much of the discussion during this week's hearing. MDMA along with a broad group of stakeholders representing numerous sectors of the innovation economy authored a letter to committee leaders prior to this week's hearing expressing our support of targeting abusive practices in patent litigation but also warning caution in adopting an overly broad proposal that would have unintended consequences. To view our letter, please click here.
Many members of the committee, as well as Ms. Lee, were supportive of points raised by MDMA and other stakeholders; however, it is expected that the broad legislation to revise the patent system, which stalled in the 113th Congress, will once again be introduced and debated early next year. MDMAsupports a much more targeted patent revision approach especially as many provisions of the America Invents Act (AIA), passed in 2011, are just now beginning to take effect.
An archived video of this week's hearing as well as testimony can be found by clicking here.