The Pursuit of Perfection

Datalogic chief intellectual property counsel Paul Maltseff knows that nobody’s perfect, but believes everyone can try to be

Paul Maltseff understands perfection will always be a bit out of reach, but that doesn’t mean he’s ever going to stop striving for it.

Maltseff is the group chief intellectual property counsel of the international company Datalogic, with headquarters in Bologna, Italy, and multiple divisions located in areas such as Eugene, Oregon, and Telford, Pennsylvania. The company is a global leader in the automated data capture and industrial automation markets, and it specializes in barcode readers, sensors for detection, measurement, safety, vision systems, and laser market systems production. Datalogic’s innovation solution offerings also extend to a number of industries that include retail, transportation, logistics, manufacturing, and healthcare.

In other words, providing clients with accurate information is paramount for Datalogic.

As group chief intellectual property counsel, Maltseff’s main responsibility is to take care of the company’s intellectual capital. While other areas of the company are on offense to help the company produce and expand, he is playing a key defensive role to protect Datalogic’s well-being, whether it’s intellectual, financial, or otherwise.

“Intellectual property is one of the fundamental components of this universe.”

“The company is similar to the universe,” Maltseff says. “Intellectual property is one of the fundamental components of this universe. It could be used as a sword or a shield of the company: the sword to attack, the shield to defend. That’s what I do.”

Maltseff’s drive for perfection began long before he started his tenure at Datalogic. He worked with the Mozhaysky Military Aerospace Engineering Academy (MMAEA) in Saint Petersburg, Russia, early in his career, where he learned an important lesson: the only acceptable level of performance is uncompromised perfection.

Off the Clock with Paul Maltseff

Paul Maltseff’s storied career doesn’t just include numerous degrees and high-level technology and legal positions. He also holds thirty-one US patents and has authored more than fifty published pieces. His patents include “Bar Code Reading System for Reconstructing Irregularly Damaged Bar Codes”; “Method and Apparatus for Enhancing Resolution of Reflectance Signals Produced From Machine Readable Symbols”; and “Systems, Methods and Devices that Dynamically Establish a Sensor Network.”

He has also been published in journals such as Leningrad, Transactions of MMAEA, and Rocket-Space Technique. Maltseff’s work has also been featured in textbooks like DSS for FMS design, Petri Nets with Uncertainties and Theoretical Fundamentals of Design, and Identification of Complex Systems.

“It doesn’t matter what you do; what matters is perfection,” Maltseff says. “Vince Lombardi, the former pro football coach, once said, ‘Perfection isn’t attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.’ That is what is required to be successful.”

Maltseff earned a PhD and DSc in applied cybernetics from MMAEA. He was also a professor there and a head of the laboratory at the National Academy of Sciences of USSR before he came to the United States in the early 1990s.

Despite the accolades that Maltseff earned in Russia, he made it his mission to keep up his pursuit of perfection when he got to the United States and found it more important than ever in his new country.

“Everything had to be perfect because we have different cultures and a different approach to life,” he says. “Even though you might not be perfect, you should try to do your best. This is what I learned in Russia and what I’ve been trying to do in the United States for the last twenty-five years.”

When Maltseff immigrated to the United States, his career remained science- and technology-oriented. He worked as a software engineering and neural network scientist for Versatron Corporation, where he developed advanced intelligence algorithms for automatic object recognition and optimal tracking. But it was happenstance that he wound up in the legal space that he’s in today.

As an employee at Intermec Technologies Corp., Maltseff received a request from the legal team to review the technology of a competitor. From that point on, he became intrigued with how lawyers operated. Maltseff was used to scientists’ straightforward, common sense approach. Watching how lawyers processed information intrigued him so much that he decided to go to law school.

“I had the opportunity to continuously connect with ingenuity and development,” he says. “I don’t concede that I totally abandoned technology; I am still living in two different worlds and trying to make sense of both.”

Having feet in both worlds pays off for Maltseff as he tries to excel in his role, which happens to be in a complex line of business. Data collection is an expensive and time-consuming exercise, not to mention the fact that every client who works with Datalogic needs and expects 100 percent accuracy. The last thing a company like Datalogic wants is to mix up something as simple as a ZIP code, which could lead to confusion between Florida and California, or reading a bar code for toothpaste that gets rung up as a steak.

Avoiding missteps like that goes back to the chase for perfection that Maltseff often references. In order to get to that level, it takes a strong team. “When you continuously work on the improvement and the perfection of the team, everyone has a talent. We need to explore that talent,” he says. “What are people’s strong suits? Who is doing the best at what they do?”

Although the job is complex and the stakes are high for every one of Datalogic’s clients, Maltseff wouldn’t trade his position for anything. He’s grateful Datalogic found him and vice versa. “What makes Datalogic work is creativity and innovation,” he says. “We aren’t big; our closest competitors are eight or nine times bigger than we are. The only way to compete is to be innovative and smart. As a scientist and patent attorney, I really enjoy working with talented engineers.”