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Google's former head of patents moves to U.S. Patent Office

Michelle Lee has criticized holes in a system that allows patent trolls to file lawsuits against companies.

Michelle Lee, Google's former head of patents and patent strategy and a vocal critic of a system she feels is too welcoming of frivolous patent lawsuits, is joining the public sector as the head of a new Silicon Valley patent office.

The news first got tweeted by Santa Clara University School of Law professor Eric Goldman

This should make for some interesting discussion. Lee, who until May was in charge of Google's patent strategy, is on record criticizing the ease with which patent trolls have been able to file patent lawsuits. She has argued that the system is set up so that "the temptations and opportunities for abuse have gotten too high," allowing attorneys and plaintiffs to rake in big paydays. "Before 1990, there had been just one patent damage award of over $100 million," she noted in a Google blog post. "Since 1990, there have been at least 15, with at least five topping $500 million."

Since last April, Lee has served on an ad advisory board to the USPTO.