The Committee of 100 is proud to announce that the Honorable Michelle K. Lee has joined our membership. Lee is a proven leader at the top levels in technology, law, business and government. She has spent most of her professional career advising some of the country’s most innovative companies and brought that expertise as she led America’s innovation agency.
As the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Ms. Lee was the chief executive of one of the largest intellectual property offices in the world. Ms. Lee was appointed by the President to the position and unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate. She led all aspects of a 13,000 person organization with an annual budget of over $3 billion as well as outreach with the business and innovation communities around the world.
Ms. Lee was the principal advisor to the President, through the Secretary of Commerce, on domestic and international intellectual property policy. She is the first woman to serve as Director of the USPTO in the country’s 220+ year history.
In addition, Ms. Lee was a lead representative of the U.S. government for international intellectual property engagements. Through this work, she understands the challenges and opportunities U.S. companies face as they navigate the varied intellectual property/business landscapes in foreign markets, particularly in Asia and Europe.
With her experience in Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C., Ms. Lee has deep experience advising high-growth, innovative companies with disruptive technologies and business models, particularly those with a need to navigate and shape complex legal and highly regulated landscapes. She currently serves as the Herman Phleger Visiting Professor of Law at Stanford Law School where she will teach a joint engineering and law course on disruptive technologies and their impact on laws and regulations as well as a course on intellectual property law.
Prior to joining the USPTO, Ms. Lee spent most of her career in the Silicon Valley in technology, business and law. Most recently, Ms. Lee was an executive at Google, serving as Deputy General Counsel. She joined the company when it was relatively young, with domestic revenue only and a few products and services, and helped the company grow into a multi-national Fortune 500 corporation with a wide range of products and services. Among other things, Ms. Lee was responsible for formulating and implementing Google’s patent strategy for all its products and services worldwide. Prior to Google, Ms. Lee served as a partner at the Silicon Valley-based law firm of Fenwick & West LLP, where she specialized in advising a wide range of high-technology clients on technology licensing, intellectual property, litigation, corporate and mergers and acquisition matters.
Before building her legal career, Ms. Lee worked as a computer scientist at Hewlett-Packard Research Laboratories, as well as at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. She holds a B.S. and an M.S. in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT, and a J.D. from Stanford Law School, and wrote her graduate thesis on artificial intelligence at the M.I.T. AI Lab.
Ms. Lee has been recognized by numerous organizations for her work including by Politico Magazine as one of the “Top 50 Most Influential Visionaries in American Public Policy” in 2015, by Washingtonian Magazine as a “Tech Titan” in 2015, and by the San Francisco Business Times and San Jose Business Journal as one of the top 100 most influential women in the Silicon Valley in 2013. She is a frequent speaker to business, legal and government leaders on technology and innovation, and has been profiled in, interviewed by or been a commentator for the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Bloomberg, C-SPAN, NPR, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Politico, National Journal, Brookings Institution, CNET and numerous other business, legal and policy publications and groups.