Following our year end review of individuals’ transitions in China’s growing IP field, here is a Q&A with Tom Duke, a new IP officer at the UK Mission:
Why did the UK decided to send you to Beijing? Is it part of a broader plan?
My role in Beijing is the first part of a planned international IP attaché network for the UK IPO. As it’s a new post, one of the priorities is to establish the most effective way that I can deliver added value to the networks already on the ground in China (for example in UK Trade & Investment, the FCO and UK/EU projects and industry associations). From reading a couple of your articles about your time in the US embassy, I know you have spoken about providing colleagues with the right tools – based on accurate information of the Chinese IP landscape – and amplifying messages that can benefit all stakeholders.
There is already a small but active IP diplomatic community in Beijing: Japanese, Korean, American, French, and European. What is your role in that community and in working with rights holders and the government?
I also of course bring some experience, ideas and working practices to the job. I intend to be pro-active in reaching out to Chinese government and non-government partners, as well as work with the international IP community in China. I strongly believe that engagement is most effective if it is coming with a sound understanding of the local context. I thus think it is important to understand the priorities of China, as well as the political realities that influence IP outcomes. I am also ready to communicate our position supported by detailed information on relevant UK expertise and best practice.
What have you done already?
My first week in the job featured the “UK-China IP Symposium” in London. The event featured a large Chinese government delegation led by SIPO Commissioner Tian Lipu, and with officials from seven Chinese government departments. We had detailed sessions on IP protection and enforcement in both the UK and China, plus a look at models for technology transfer. The event was a great forum to bring me up to speed on industry experience in China, and it was also good to see the appetite for interaction by the Chinese delegation with the speakers from the UK.
The event and other discussions highlighted a number of priority work areas. We’re still in the consulting stage, and I’m actively inviting input from all stakeholders as we build our projects and programmes for the coming year.
We wish Mr. Duke the best in China, and we look forward to learning more about his work.