NAPABA Press Release: Michelle K. Lee First Woman to Lead U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

March 10, 2015

Contact: Tina Matsuoka
(202) 775-9555

WASHINGTON — Last night, the U.S. Senate confirmed Michelle K. Lee as the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Lee is the first woman and person of color to lead the USPTO.

“We congratulate Michelle Lee on her historic confirmation,” said George C. Chen, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). “Ms. Lee is breaking barriers not only for the Asian Pacific American community, but for all women and communities of color in the tech and legal industries.”

President Obama nominated Lee for the position in October 2014. Lee has over twenty years of experience in intellectual property and patent law. Prior to her confirmation, Lee served as the Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and the acting Director and Deputy Director of the USPTO, and she also headed the USPTO Silicon Valley office. Prior to her public service, she was Google’s first Deputy General Counsel and Head of Patents and Patents Strategy.

Lee holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering and Masters of Science in computer science from MIT. She received her JD from Stanford Law School.


The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American (APA) attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and approximately 70 national, state, and local bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA engages in legislative and policy advocacy, promotes APA political leadership and political appointments, and builds coalitions within the legal profession and the community at large. NAPABA also serves as a resource for government agencies, members of Congress, and public service organizations about APAs in the legal profession, civil rights, and diversity in the courts.