Head of Intellectual Property Management

Darmstadt, Germany

AB Enzymes is a subsidiary of Associated British Foods PLC (UK) and it is a leading company in the industrial enzymes business worldwide. We are a reliable partner for customers in the food, feed and industrial enzymes business. Product excellence and innovation are among our key strengths and our customers value these highly. We are headquartered in Darmstadt, Germany with a joint venture in Finland responsible for manufacturing and part of our research (www.roal.fi/in_english). We conduct commercial operations globally and you will operate within a highly profitable growing business, whilst being part of one of the UK’s largest PLC’s.

We are looking for a Head of Intellectual Property Management (Based in Darmstadt, Germany). If you apply successfully for this job, you will join us at an exciting time. With fantastic growth in recent years, we are now working to ensure that this growth can continue for many years. Reporting directly to the Global R&D Director of AB Enzymes, you would play a key role in intellectual property development and management (including preparing, prosecuting and defending patent applications and granted patents). You will secure the freedom-to-operate of AB Enzymes in the relevant business and technology fields. Safeguarding R&D results, innovations and inventions made by AB Enzymes or codeveloped with partners and protecting and enforcing the IP is important in this role. You will support the management and the business units by providing critical analysis about potential IP opportunities, risks and restrictions in the industrial enzyme business thus providing a basis for fact-based decision making.


  • Coordination of the worldwide filing, prosecution, maintenance, defence and enforcement of our patent applications, patents and trademarks
  • AB Enzymes IP portfolio management , including registering changes of IP ownership and renewals
  • Coordination of opposition/appeal proceedings at the EPO and national patent offices and any IP litigation
  • Monitoring, research and analysis of third party IP relevant to the commercial activities of the business
  • Evaluation of our freedom-to-operate in relation to third parties’ IP rights, and advising the business of the associated opportunities and risks
  • Keeping up-to-date with progress and developments in the fields of industrial enzyme technology and in the relevant business community
  • Working closely with colleagues in R&D and other stakeholders to ensure that new inventions are adequately protected
  • Monitoring R&D publications to safeguard our IP position
  • Contributing to the design of R&D projects and collaborations, including contract research agreements, to maximise the creation of IP generating opportunities
  • Providing general IP advice to business stakeholders and giving internal training on IP matters
  • Effectively managing relationships with outside counsel in relation to IP matters
  • Providing advice to the business in relation to IP opportunities involving third parties such as IP due diligence, R&D collaborations and licensing agreements
  • Managing our budget and controlling costs associated with for IP-related activities
  • Ensuring our compliance with relevant IP-related legislation including the “German Act on Employees’ Inventions” and overseeing adherence to our IP policies and procedures

Required Qualifications and Key Skills

  • At least a master’s degree in biology, biotechnology, genetics, microbiology or biochemistry, preferably a PhD in a relevant field
  • 3-5 years’ relevant experience in research & development within academia or industry
  • Experience working directly with patents in a company in a relevant industry or working within an IP practice (e.g. patent attorney office) with patents in biotechnology, life sciences or adjacent fields; previous experience of managing IP portfolios highly advantageous as is qualification in the field.
  • Analytical skills, an issue-related attitude and an eye for detail as well as the ability to express complex technical ideas clearly and concisely and structure a precise, coherent argument
  • High reliability and correctness, a strong finisher
  • Interest to practice in an “intermediate zone” between science and technology and legal matters
  • Demonstrates a broad understanding of the business environment in which we operate and the role that IP plays within that environment
  • Solution oriented, self-driven and one who can work effectively in a fast-paced environment with strong deadlines       
  • Good written and verbal communication skills in English. Ability to interact professionally with all levels of an organisation, both internally and externally
  • An understanding of German language would be a distinct advantage or at least a willingness to learn.