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News and Media

Director of Patent Office Michelle Lee Steps Down

June 7, 2017 by Gail Nussbaum in News and Media

No explanation has been given for Michelle Lee’s resignation as director of the US Patent and Trademark Office.

In 2014 Lee was appointed by then-President Obama becoming the first woman to head that office. She was offered the post after the position sat unfilled for two years. Her appointment was seen as a kind of victory for the technology industry, since she had been the head of Google’s patent division. There are ongoing tensions between the high-tech industry and big-pharm over the patent office’s handling of patent applications from these two industries.

When Donald Trump took over as President Lee said she was “open” to the possibility of staying on as head of the Patent Office during Trump’s tenure. For the first few months of Trump’s term it remained unclear exactly what Lee’s status was vis a vis the patent office. Then in mid-March the Patent Office said that Lee was going to remain as director under Trump.

There was no reason given for Lee’s resignation, although rumors were circulating that Trump is considering her for another job in his administration, perhaps as the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The Commerce Department did not, however, announce any next step for Lee.

“We thank Michelle Lee for her service to her country and to the Department of Commerce,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in an emailed statement. “As the first woman in our country’s history to serve as Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office,

Michelle K. Lee, Former Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (2014-2017)

Michelle has worked tirelessly to serve our stakeholders and the American public. We wish her well in her next endeavor.”

Kelly Contemplating Laptop Ban on International Flights

May 29, 2017 by Gail Nussbaum in News and Media

POTUS visits DHS

John Kelly, Secretary of Homeland Security, announced that he is considering a ban on passengers bringing laptops in their carry-on luggage on international flights arriving in the United States.

Kelly said he is considering such a prohibition due to the looming potential dangers of terrorist attacks on airplanes caused by electronic devices which could be detonated on such flights.

“It is a real sophisticated threat, and I’ll reserve that decision until we see where it’s going,” Kelly said, explaining that a laptop ban is still in the discussion phase.

Kelly added that no matter he and his agency decides, the Department of Homeland Security sees its role as making flying as safe and secure as possible all over the world. The agency works with all countries to reach this outcome.

“We’re still following the intelligence. The very, very good news is we are working with friends and partners around the world,” he said.

Kelly added: “We are going to raise the bar, generally speaking, for aviation security.”

Abbas to Meet Trump in May

April 20, 2017 by Gail Nussbaum in News and Media

Mahmoud Abbas

President Donald Trump will meet with the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas this coming May, according to a White House announcement.

Abbas will be in Washington, DC, on May 3, and will meet Trump to discuss the next steps needed to achieve a peace settlement with Israel. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced the meeting at a news briefing on Wednesday.

“They will reconfirm the commitment of the United States and Palestinian leadership to pursuing and concluding a conflict-ending settlement between the Palestinians and Israel,” Spicer said.

Trump met with the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this year. The US President has stated that he can “live with either” a one-state or two-state solution. Senior advisor to the president Jared Kushner, who is also the son-in-law of Trump, was been designated to lead the US’s efforts to broker a peace deal between the parties.

Trump Asking for $4.1 billion Down Payment for Proposed Border Wall

March 16, 2017 by Dan Kazan in News and Media

Director of the Office of Management
and Budget

President Trump is steaming ahead with his plans to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. His first step will be to request $1.5 billion in a supplemental spending bill. Next will be a request for $2.6 billion for fiscal year 2018. That is s total of $4.1 billion, just a small down payment for the estimated total price of the wall at $22 billion. Mike Mulvaney, the director or the White House Office Of Management and Budget said the president’s requests are quite a bit higher than what was originally proposed.

These budget line-items will be just a small piece in the puzzle to enhance security at the US-Mexico border in what Mulvaney says is a comprehensive “America First” budget.

“We wrote it using the president’s own words,” he said to reporters over the phone. “We went through his speeches, we went through articles that have been written about his policies … and we turned those policies into numbers.”

Mulvaney said that the complete budget for defense and border security will be $30 billion. The budget requested by the president will also include upping the money available for Homeland Security by about 6 percent.