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New Top Patent Officer

The US Senate has confirmed a new patent office director, the Verge reports. Michelle Lee is the new director of the US Patent and Trademark Office, a post the Verge notes has been vacant for more than two years.

Previously, Lee was deputy general counsel and head of patents and patent strategy at Google for about a decade before she became director of the patent office's Silicon Valley branch in 2012, Reuters notes. She has also been the USPTO's acting director for about a year.

This appointment, the Verge says, "places a knowledgeable Silicon Valley figure in a critical position to deal with one of technology's biggest legal issues: patent trolls."

"Assuring better quality patents will help blunt the patent troll problem," Robert Stoll, a former commissioner of patents and current partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath, tells Reuters.

Another challenge facing the patent office is its large backlog, Reuters adds, noting that there are some 602,265 patents waiting to be examined.

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