Diageo adds four to IP in global restructuring

Diageo adds four to IP in global restructuringDrinks giant Diageo has boosted its global IP team with four hires as the ­company restructures its IP function to focus on regions as well as product lines.

Two new IP chiefs have been appointed to cover Africa and Southern Europe, both reporting to senior IP counsel Katherine Tsang. The roles are based in London, handling trademark matters for all of Diageo’s drinks product lines, including Guinness and Captain Morgan rum, in jurisdictions such as ­Nigeria, Greece and Spain.

Trowers & Hamlins associate Romain Dourlen joins as regional IP counsel for Europe, while Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer IP lawyer Alan Gofton has taken the regional IP role for Africa and the Middle East.

The IP team has also received a boost via the addition of trademark ­manager Lee Chong, who comes from whisky brand Chivas, and Paul Howie, who joins from broadcasting company Red Bee Media. Howie joins as counsel for innovation and technical IP.

Global IP chief Bruce Proctor said: “The previous structure involved focusing resources and legal professionals principally on our brands and having the regional work flow from what was happening with our brands in the various regions. We formed a view that the IP needs of our local business units were not being given optimal focus, so we’ve adopted a hybrid model whereby resources are being dedicated to both the brands and to the regions.”

Proctor has bulked up Diageo’s IP team over the past year, hiring Arnold & Porter associate Stuart Casey for a new patent counsel role in 2007.
Diageo’s main IP firms are Bristows and Rouse Legal.