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Report: USPTO’s Michelle Lee In Running for White House’s Top Science Spot

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office head Michelle Lee

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office head Michelle Lee // Tony Avelar/AP

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office head Michelle Lee could be a candidate for the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy director, Politico reports.

Lee, also a Commerce Department undersecretary for intellectual property, ran Google’s patent and patent strategy arm. Politico cited “sources familiar with the job search,” though neither Lee nor the White House responded to Nextgov’s requests for confirmation.

The news comes amid concern that President Donald Trump’s administration is failing to replace OSTP staff positions, perhaps intentionally. While that office held about 24 people under Barack Obama, Trump has so far only named one person to fill it: Michael Kratios, formerly chief of staff to Peter Thiel, Trump’s tech adviser.

“The impression this leaves is that Trump isn’t interested in science and that scientific matters are a low priority at the White House,” Vint Cerf, a Google technologist known as the "father of the internet," told The New York Times last month.

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