Picks for patent head, IP czar to get floor votes

President Obama’s picks for two top intellectual property positions are about to get a confirmation vote in the Senate.

The upper chamber will vote on Michelle Lee, Obama’s nominee to lead the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and Daniel Marti, his choice to be the next White House's intellectual property enforcement coordinator, or “IP czar,” on Monday, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn’s (R-Texas) office said.

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Both nominees received little opposition in the Judiciary Committee and seem on track to winning relatively easy confirmation. Cornyn’s office predicted that Lee would be confirmed by voice vote, while Marti’s nomination would likely be subjected to a full roll call vote.

If the two are approved, that would fill both positions for the first time since 2013.   

Lee, a former Google executive who has been leading the Patent Office on an acting basis since early 2014, has promised to continue the push to ensure that high quality patents are issued and to reduce the lingering backlog of thousands of applications. She has also pledged to prevent employees from abusing the office’s telework program. 

Marti is a Washington lawyer who was spent years focusing on intellectual property issues.