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In Conversation with MaxVal’s Kurt Wedel


Kurt Wedel is MaxVal’s Chief Revenue Officer and a 20+ year veteran of the IP software and services space. We recently sat down with him for a conversation on the evolution of the IP software market, the challenges facing IP departments, and what he sees as the “next big thing”.

Q1: Can you share a little bit about your background and what has kept you in the IP space for more than 20 years?

I began my career in advertising in New York, where I learned invaluable skills as an “AdMan” under a drill sergeant of a boss. From managing meetings with customers to mastering practical writing and listening skills— I learned more practical knowledge in this job than during my four years at Vassar as an English major. Writing up call reports underscored the importance of listening and concise communication, particularly in documenting client meetings, which is often undervalued today. My journey into the IP sector was unplanned, starting with a corporate domain management company after my stint at Netscape. Fun and intelligent people, especially on the customer side, made the work enjoyable and engaging. And as most of my colleagues would agree, working in IP is never boring nor predictable – and this has been a big part of why I’ve stayed in the IP space for so long.

Q2: How has the IP software market changed over the last 20 years?

Over the last 20 years, IP departments have seen an influx of point solutions, each tailored to specific aspects of IP management. And while these specialized tools provide tactical value, they also create integration and data consistency issues and inefficiencies due to their disparate nature. The difficulty in managing complex IP portfolios demands a more seamless solution that can streamline operations and reduce the overhead of using multiple systems. 

And although there has been a proliferation of highly effective IP automation solutions, there’s been some resistance to abandoning outdated methods and processes. Over three decades ago, while I was at Oracle, we perfected workflow software – yet the legal industry still manages most of their tasks via email, which is probably the most ineffective process management tool possible. The fear of change within IP legal departments hinders broader adoption of efficient technologies, but vendors share the lack of adoption responsibility since we make change difficult. I strongly believe AI will help make technology adoption a lot easier.

Q3: What are some of the biggest challenges facing corporate and law firm IP departments today?

As mentioned, one of the primary hurdles is technology adoption. People generally struggle with change, and in the realm of IP management, this is particularly evident – due in large part to the aversion to risk. That said, younger generations are more comfortable adopting and leveraging technology, so things are slowly changing. 

Additionally, AI is starting to make exciting inroads and will soon radically transform the way IP departments operate.

Q4: What should IP professionals look for when selecting an IP management system?

When choosing an IP management system, professionals should focus on their specific needs and goals, and identify a solution that fits those goals. Sure, it sounds simple, but the challenge often lies in envisioning those goals in the light of doing things differently or in an unfamiliar manner. So, it’s crucial to select a system that not only fits the current needs but can also adapt to future demands and possibilities.

Q5: Where do you see the market going in the next 5 years?

The future of IP management is unequivocally tied to AI. As artificial intelligence technologies mature, they are poised to dominate the landscape, offering new capabilities and efficiencies previously unimaginable in the sector. This progression promises to redefine the standards of practice in IP management, making it an exciting field to watch.


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