Michelle Lee joined the USPTO as Director of the Silicon Valley Patent Office in 2012 (and apparently got her Reg. No. that year), after working as Deputy General Counsel of Google, and at Fenwick & West and Keker & Van Nest. She has a deep technical (EE) and legal background that involves PTO operations insofar as she has also served on the Public Advisory Committee.
Her experience with “Patent Trolls” at Google has caused her to paint herself into an anti-patent position in recent years. I hope she will come to realize that not all NPE’s are extortionists (See links below for reports and comments from forums she has attended.)
Interestingly, she was nominated by Peggy Focarino, the PTO Commissioner of Patents, to the Secretary of Commerce, who then appointed Michelle to be Deputy Undersecretary of Commerce for IP. Since there is no Director of the USPTO (as well as no Deputy Director), Michelle will effectively be the Acting Director of the USPTO (I guess)—until a new Director is nominated and confirmed by the Senate. That could be a while, to say the least.
Here are some quotes from Michelle Lee regarding the patent system: