Founded in 2018, Formo is a food biotech company on a mission to bring the next generation of sustainable, healthy, and equitable dairy products to consumers. The company is Europe’s first cellular agriculture company developing cultivated dairy products – that is dairy which is based on real, animal-free milk proteins produced using precision fermentation. Formo envisions a happier, healthier future by an irresistible change in the food system: where animal-free is hedonistic, cheese is deliciously high-tech, and anybody anywhere can enjoy fromage that’s perfect for them. Formo is a venture-backed, fast-growing company in Europe’s start-up hotspot, Berlin. The company employs a global team of highly-skilled entrepreneurs and scientists who bring real innovation to life. Their common thread? A passion for challenging the status quo and transforming the food industry.
Based at the company’s headquarters in Berlin (with frequent travel to the company’s R&D site in Bonn) and working within a dynamic, entrepreneurial, and inspiring work environment, the Intellectual Property Director will assume chief responsibility in formulating and implementing global IP strategies, as well as the development of the patent portfolio of Formo. The successful appointee will have the autonomy to build and develop the IP strategy, in addition to providing guidance to the company’s leadership team. This position, therefore, requires a pragmatic, hands-on approach, as well as the ability to make entrepreneurial decisions, and support senior management in doing the same.
Reporting to the CEO, Raffael Wohlgensinger, the Intellectual Property Director will provide business-focused IP advice and counselling and be responsible for:
- Leading and managing Formo’s IP matters, including team development and budget responsibility;
- Promoting a culture of ‘invention creation’ by promoting ideation and out-of-the-box thinking within technical teams;
- Establishing and aligning IP strategies on all matters (including patent prosecution, enforcement, opposition, litigation, licensing and agreement, trade secret, and trademark) in consultation with the senior management team;
- Ensuring the development of Formo’s global intellectual property portfolio as appropriate for a start-up biotech company;
- Reviewing of Formo’s pipeline and technology and capturing of new inventions (for instance, by filing patent applications for products and technologies);
- Ensuring cost-efficient patent and trademark prosecution and handling of patent office proceedings;
- Conducting directly or overseeing the performance of freedom-to-operate, infringement and validity analyses;
- Overseeing and coordinating IP litigations;
- Providing support and advice on IP-related contractual matters;
- Coordinating and managing interactions with external patent law firms, as well as the IP departments of the company’s partners and licensees.
The appointee will be expected to develop and foster strong relationships at all levels of the company and become a trusted advisor. Furthermore, the candidate should exhibit entrepreneurial skills and leadership potential, and be ambitious enough to take on a greater scope of responsibilities as the company grows.
- Full qualification as a European Patent Attorney, with at least three years of post-qualification experience;
- A strong academic background in biology, biotechnology, or a related discipline;
- Experience working within an in-house intellectual property department would be preferred;
- A strong creative and strategic personality with experience in developing and executing holistic IP strategies and communicating these company-wide;
- Experience in analysing legal IP issues, related for instance to patent validity, infringement, enforceability, and patentability;
- Experience in IP contractual work such as licensing;
- Fluency in German and English.
The ideal candidates should further possess the following qualities:
- Being an outgoing team player with excellent interpersonal skills in order to relate and communicate credibly with individuals at all levels within the organisation;
- The ability to build effective relationships with R&D scientists, legal and business teams;
- The ability to make good judgement based on sound business acumen and an exceptional, positive attitude to deliver results, coupled with the ability to understand business drivers;
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills, with the ability to articulate complex technical and legal issues in a crisp and comprehensible manner to positively influence commercial decisions;
- Natural self-confidence with a proactive and commercial approach;
- Excellent liaising and diplomatic skills, coupled with good organisational abilities;
- A “hands-on” flexible approach to problems and demands, with the ability to thrive on challenge and react quickly and positively to a fast-moving environment;
- Cross-culturally sensitivity given the multinational working environment;
- The highest standards of professionalism, integrity and confidentiality.
This is an exceptional opportunity within a unique and exciting company that is poised for significant growth. The role will be varied and stimulating with excellent prospects for long-term career development.