Duncan Willson serves as the intellectual property (IP) counselor at the U.S. embassy in Beijing, China, where he promotes U.S. stakeholder interests by advocating for improvements in China’s protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR), including patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. In addition, Mr. Willson serves as a resource for U.S. individuals and businesses in regard to IPR concerns in China.
Prior to his appointment as IP attaché, Mr. Willson was an attorney advisor in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Office of Policy and International Affairs, where he handled policy matters relating to IP issues in China. His responsibilities included developing and negotiating U.S. positions on IP matters on behalf of the U.S. government; advising the U.S. government and business community on legal developments in China that impact the protection and enforcement of IP in that country; and designing and supervising technical assistance to the Chinese government in regard to IP.
Most recently, Mr. Willson was detailed to the Office of the U.S. IP Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC), where he advised the IPEC and White House officials on the IP components to strategic policies and trade-related matters, in addition to providing his expertise on Chinese IP laws, policies, and practices.
Prior to joining public service, Mr. Willson was a senior associate with the law firm of Baker & McKenzie in Beijing, China, where he provided strategic and practical advice on a wide-range of IPR issues to individuals and businesses operating in China, including advising on trademark and copyright protection and enforcement, IP licensing, and dispute resolution, among other issues.
Mr. Willson received his law degree from the George Washington University Law School, and holds two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Washington. He is a Seattle native, and is licensed to practice law in California.
About the USPTO and the Office of Policy and International Affairs
Aside from the issuance of patents and registration of trademarks, the USPTO has a statutory mandate to advise the President and all federal agencies, through the Secretary of Commerce, on national and international intellectual property (IP) policy issues, including IP protection in other countries. In addition, the USPTO is authorized by statute to provide guidance, conduct programs and studies, and interact with IP offices worldwide—and with international intergovernmental organizations—on matters involving IP.