02.26.15

SJC Unanimously Approves Nominee To Lead Patent & Trademark Office

Leahy Calls For Senate To Confirm Pending Nominees To Fill Critical IP Positions

WASHINGTON (Thursday, February 26, 2015) – The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday unanimously approved the nomination of Michelle Lee to serve as the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) urged the Senate to quickly confirm the nominee, who has been pending since last year.

“This position has been vacant for more than two years, which is far too long for an office that is so important to our nation’s innovators,” Leahy said.  “Ms. Lee has strong bipartisan support and I hope her confirmation will be taken up swiftly on the Senate floor.”

Lee, who currently serves as the Deputy Director of the PTO, was nominated to lead the office last October. Leahy, a longtime champion of IP issues, pushed last year for her confirmation along with the confirmation of Daniel Marti to be the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC).  Despite broad bipartisan support for the noncontroversial nominees, Committee Republicans required them to appear for a second confirmation hearing. The Committee unanimously reported Marti’s nomination to the full Senate last week, and Lee’s nomination was overwhelmingly supported in Committee today.

“Vermonters know firsthand that creators and innovators are the lifeblood of this country—fueling our imagination while creating jobs and contributing billions of dollars to the economy,” Leahy said. “The Senate must quickly confirm these qualified nominees so that our economy and our creators can continue to thrive.”

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