Working in IP, explains Datalogic Chief IP Counsel Paul Maltseff, is like trying to predict the future. For Datalogic, a midrange company based out of Italy that works in the automatic data capture and process automation markets, performing well in an industry with much larger competitors comes from identifying the needs of the marketplace and capitalizing on them before anyone else does. Maltseff emphasizes that it is key to look for IP innovations and secure the rights to them quickly.
“IP innovation is of great interest to us, even if it’s just incremental innovation,” Maltseff explains of Datalogic’s view of the future.
This kind of flexibility and nimbleness aids Datalogic as a midsized company, Maltseff says, as “big companies are very slow on the development side.” Bureaucracy can slow them down, giving more fleet-footed firms like Datalogic the agility they need to get ahead.
As chief IP counsel, Maltseff is responsible for everything related to intellectual property, from product clearance to patents and licensing. To accomplish this kind of in-depth global work, Maltseff works with a seven-member team spread out across the United States and European Union as well as China and Vietnam. Having representatives in every major market, he explains, makes it easier to file patents and build IP consortiums across the world.
Maltseff has decades of business and IP experience, going all the way back to his work for the Soviet Union’s Academy of Sciences. He’s a huge proponent of systems theory, which argues that “anything we have in our world, including human beings, is part of a system with complex interactions that lead to behaviors,” he says. His work in IP law started in 2000, when he was working at Intermec Technologies Corporation. He came to Datalogic in 2014 as chief IP counsel when Intermec was acquired by Honeywell.
Why the change? “I don’t like bureaucracy and love new challenges,” he says.
Central to his work—and Datalogic’s ability to maintain an edge in the data capture and process automation field—is anticipating what competitors are getting ready to research and develop. With his team, Maltseff pores through technology news and publications as well as publicly available patents to identify technology trends and what new products larger companies are creating. Most big companies lay down patents years before they develop or put out products, giving Datalogic a preview of where they need to focus their own energies.
“You don’t need to waste money on every concept,” he notes. “We look at our competitors, identify what they’ve patented, and see what they try to achieve. If you do that and can attend conferences and look at exhibitions, you will know what you need to do.”
When Maltseff and the team at Datalogic see a company developing a groundbreaking new product, they need to find a way to differentiate their own product in order to not infringe on patents and copyright. What’s more, they can simply license or cross-license that same technology for their own products. “And there are just plain sales of patents,” Maltseff explains.
Apart from that drive to beat competitors to the punch, though, there are ways in which competitors can become potential collaborators. This is especially true when it comes to litigation: part of Maltseff’s job is to negotiate agreements between Datalogic and its competitors to provide joint defense against lawsuits from nonpracticing entities.
“Patent litigation is quite expensive,” Maltseff says, making it more beneficial to them to work out deals rather than risk everyone entering costly legal battles over patents.
To other IP counsel hoping to bolster their company’s performance, Maltseff advises: seek excellence. “Truth will adhere, so never make a drastic decision. My way or the highway will never give you a positive result.” At Datalogic, he practices this every day by taking a detailed, patient look at the future and determining what part the company will play in it.
The Juhasz Law Firm, PC:
“Our team at Juhasz Law salutes Paul Maltseff for exemplary leadership, an exceptional team, and demonstrated results. This honor is well deserved. We are proud to serve you and your global team at Datalogic.”
–Paul Juhasz, President