Diageo relocates in-house legal chief to boost US IP capability

Diageo is set to expand its in-house IP team in the US after IP chief Bruce Proctor shifted offices from London to the company’s Connecticut base.

Proctor said both personal and work factors motivated the move and that he would still spend time in the London office.

“I spent four years in London, spending a third of my time in the US locations,” Proctor told The Lawyer. “I moved my family out in mid-July and now I spend about a third of my time in London.”

The company’s IP team has been growing steadily in the UK. Proctor said he had similar plans for the US team to ensure parity on both sides of the Atlantic. “We’ve derived great efficiency from our IP group,” said Proctor. “We’re hiring in the US on that front to complement what we’re doing in London.”

In January Proctor boosted the UK IP team with the hire of Arnold & Porter associate Stuart Casey for a new patent counsel role.

Last month the company brought in trademark lawyer Roger Evans from Imperial Tobacco to work on the gins, Baileys and beers IP portfolio.

Proctor joined Diageo as IP general counsel in June 2002 from the Coca-Cola Corporation, where he was head of trademarks. Prior to that he worked in-house at Unilever and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Diageo uses Bristows and Rouse Legal for IP matters.