From Entrepreneur, Navy Commander to Public Servant

Otto Lee is the founder and managing partner of IPLG (Intellectual Property Law Group LLP headquartered in San Jose, California) specializing in Patent, Trademark, Copyright and Trade Secrets related matters. He has been practicing international intellectual property law in Silicon Valley for over two decades. He resides with his wife Sally and their three young daughters in Sunnyvale, California. As the first Asian-American elected Councilmember/Mayor in Sunnyvale, Otto Lee served in different governing roles. For his city and community, Otto first served on the Planning Commission from 1997 to 2003, including serving as the Commission Chair, where he helped usher in an era of smart growth and downtown revitalization. Subsequently, Sunnyvale voters elected Otto to be their City Councilmember and Mayor from 2003 to 2011.

Being a strong advocate of our environment, Otto is widely known as the “Green Mayor” of Sunnyvale, in which he created a greater awareness of community and environmental issues affecting his constituents’ daily lives. Otto was a Democratic Congressional Candidate for CA District 22 in 2012 (running against Devin Nunes and became the highest vote-getter for his Party in Central Valley.) Otto is currently an elected DNC National Committeeman from California representing the Silicon Valley, and he serves as a super-delegate during the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary.

For his country, Otto has served in the U.S. Navy Reserves for 28 years and currently holds the rank of Commander. His most notable assignments include Disbursing and Sales Officer onboard a Guided Missile Cruiser, Supply Officer for SEABEEs Construction Battalion, Commander Naval Air Forces Pacific Headquarters overseeing logistics support for six aircraft carriers and also Commander Naval Forces Korea. In addition to participating in many joint exercises with the South Korean armed forces, Otto was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq in 2009 for a year-long assignment as the Chief of Drawdown Material Disposition Policy. His work focused on base closures and material drawdown authorities where he was instrumental to help close more than 200 bases, to which he was awarded the Bronze Star. Subsequently, Otto has been serving with the Naval Supply Global Logistics Support Headquarters in San Diego and later retired in January 2018.

Otto received his B.S. in chemical and nuclear engineering from U.C. Berkeley, J.D. from U.C. Hastings, and LL.M. in Public International Law from the University of Leiden, The Netherlands. He is admitted to the bars in California and Washington D.C. He has received many awards, most notably, the Character Award from the Boy Scouts of America, and was selected as Veteran of the Year for California Assembly District 22, and NAACP San Jose/Silicon Valley Legislator of the Year. He is a frequent guest commentator on Chinese television and radio on national politics and international affairs. He has been quoted on NPR, and published Op-Eds on international security matters in the San Jose Mercury News.

The reason why Otto Lee is running? Because while much of Santa Clara County & Silicon Valley is thriving, too many residents are struggling and too many families have been priced out.
Efforts are underway to stem these sufferings, but while we continue to empower successes it’s time to make some real actions for our community – especially to address climate change and our housing crisis. For all of us! His grandfather’s three-decades of service in the U.S Navy and my 28 years of service in the Navy has shaped my views on the importance of serving our country. Secretary Norman-Mineta is his role model because of his decades of leadership and service to our community. His lifelong goal is to serve the public for Santa Clara County.


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