Top patent attorneys at both Google Inc. and Intel Corp. have left their companies in recent months.
Michelle Lee, deputy general counsel and head of patents and patent strategy at Google, stepped down in late May.
David Simon, associate general counsel for IP policy at Intel, has also resigned his position.
Simon had been chief patent counsel overseeing Intel's patent litigation until the first of the year, when he was moved to a policy and lobbying position as part of a management reorganization.
Lee arrived at Google in 2003, before its IPO, after spending seven years at Fenwick & West advising high-tech companies on IP and patent matters.
Under Lee, Google's patent department has grown from a handful of people to a team of about 70 as its portfolio of patents went from a few to thousands. Lee has been credited with a key role in strategic patent acquisitions, such as Google's $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility and its patent assets in August.
"I was privileged to have spent nine amazing years at Google, during a time of tremendous growth for the company," Lee said Thursday, "and to have led the company on some of the most interesting patent issues of our time, with an incredible team." She declined to detail her career plans.
Lee's role changed in January when Google hired Allen Lo, a former associate counsel at Juniper Networks Inc., as deputy general counsel in charge of patent litigation and patent acquisitions. Lee was named Google's head of patents and patent strategy.
Lee had also been Google's public voice on patent reform, whether it was working with government agencies or filing amicus curiae briefs. Last year, Lee was named to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Patent Public Advisory Committee.
"Michelle is a talented lawyer and her expertise on patents will be missed," Google spokesman Jim Prosser said. "We wish her good fortune in her new endeavor."