Google’s former head of patents Michelle Lee has been named as the interim head of the USPTO, starting work there on 13th January, reports Yahoo! Finance.

Although technically Lee is deputy director, the agency hasn’t had a director since David Kappos left back in February, meaning that Lee will be running the show for the immediate future at least.

The appointment is an interesting choice given Google’s vocal criticism of patent trolls … 

Google has been in the fight against “patent assertion entities” which buy or license patents and sue companies for infringement, but Lee said she would be even-handed in handling disputes.

“None of the policy positions of my former employers has guided my work,” she said. “I certainly would be very welcoming of everybody’s input.”

The USPTO has been criticized for its backlog of over half a million patent applications which have yet to be examined. Lee said that attacking this backlog, and working to improve patent quality (read: patent trolls beware), would be her key priorities.

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