Diageo gives global IP team regional focus

Diageo has restructured its global IP team to focus on regions rather than product lines in order to align the team more closely with the rest of the business.

Two new IP chiefs will be appointed to cover Africa and Southern Europe. The roles will be based in London, handling trademark and patent matters for all of Diageo’s drinks product lines, including Guinness and Captain Morgan rum, in jurisdictions such as Nigeria, Spain and Greece.

Diageo is in the process of hiring candidates for the two regional IP counsel positions and is also hunting for a further two IP lawyers to manage a team of trademark specialists and to advise on technical innovation.

Diageo relocated global IP chief Bruce Proctor from London to its US base in Connecticut last year, charging him with expanding the in-house IP team.

In January 2007 Proctor boosted the UK IP team with the hire of Arnold & Porter associate Stuart Casey for a new patent counsel role and later hired Imperial Tobacco IP lawyer Roger Evans.

The company’s external IP advisers are Bristows and Rouse Legal.