Food, Beverages & Tobacco Team of the Year: PepsiCo

Charged with protecting a portfolio that spans more than 20 countries, encompasses approximately 55,000 trademarks and boasts heavyweight brands (including Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Lay’s, Gatorade, Tropicana, 7 Up, Doritos, Quaker Foods, Cheetos, Aquafina and Walkers) with a combined value of $22 billion, PepsiCo’s trademark team has a lot riding on its shoulders. For chief counsel of global trademarks Joe Ferretti, their ability to deliver is down to superior communication skills, demonstrated excellence and a real passion for their brands.

PepsiCo is the largest food and beverage company in North America by net revenue and is also the second largest in the world; its ongoing global expansion campaign – especially in Europe and Latin America – has been keeping the team particularly busy. Ferretti adds that the company has been “very active in prosecuting marks in the US, Mexico, Europe and Brazil in the last year, with a lion’s share of that work done in-house”.

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Cabinet Beau de Lomenie’s Aurélia Marie onstage with the PepsiCo team

To manage this global workload, the 25-strong trademark team is structured along geographical lines. As well as a main IP base in Plano, Texas, PepsiCo has “strategically located” trademark support teams based in New York, Chicago, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, London and Moscow.

While a presence on the ground allows the team to react quickly to the business’s needs in different jurisdictions, the structure is itself a challenge to manage. Ferretti observes that each individual department member plays an integral role in ensuring a streamlined, effective operation: “Each and every member of the team demonstrates excellence every day. It is a top-notch team that truly has a passion for the business. Even though the team is not all in one location, they take an extra effort in communicating that adds to the team’s overall success. That extra layer of communication is taken with our business clients, our outside counsel and, importantly, communication among the team, so that trends and new legal and marketing issues are shared across the trademark team extremely well. I’m extremely proud to be part of this team.”

The nominations that the team received make clear that this approach is also valued by its legal partners across the globe. One nominator enthused: “I have worked with Joe and his team at PepsiCo for many years. They are extremely knowledgeable and at the forefront of every issue imaginable facing IP lawyers. They provide excellent insight and counsel to their clients on a global basis, always keeping in mind business practicalities while ensuring the protection and growth of some of the most powerful brands in the world.”

Other nominees:

E & J Gallo Winery

Podravka

Starbucks

Yum! Brands

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