Kraft dishes up first global patent head

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.