Appointed by President Barack Obama, Michelle K. Lee was sworn in as Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on March 13, 2015. She was the first woman to serve as head of the USPTO. Lee originally joined the agency in 2013 as director of the Silicon Valley Regional Office and then became deputy director of the USPTO in January 2014. Prior to her service, Lee was the deputy general counsel for Google and its head of patents and patent strategy. She had also worked as a computer scientist in the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, her alma mater, and Hewlett-Packard Research Laboratories. Lee resigned from the USPTO on June 6, 2017. Following her departure, she accepted a visiting professorship at Stanford University, from where she had obtained her law degree.