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US company Kraft Foods has hired its first global patent chief, taking on Clinton Hallman from cigarette maker Philip Morris.
Hallman starts with a four-person patent team in the US, comprising two lawyers and two paralegals.
Hallman was responsible for Philip Morris's non-contentious patent work. He will also deal with patent litigation in his new role at Kraft.
Jackie Leimer, Kraft vice-president and associate general counsel, said: "[Hallman] manages all aspects of IP work. That means protecting our inventions as well as counselling the business units on patent-related transactions."
Hallman will report to overall IP chief Leimer.
Kraft is also on the verge of hiring a patent head for Europe, a role that has been filled temporarily by Simmons & Simmons associate Marc Döring.
Last year Döring won a five-year patent case for Kraft against Sara Lee in the European Patent Office, which could give the company a crucial head start in the coffee market.