At the Nexus of the World's Information
Steven Wildfeuer Bs’92
Vice President and Lead Intellectual Property Counsel, LexisNexis
When you’re scanning the headlines at the New York Times Web site, Twittering, or otherwise enjoying life in the Information Age, it’s easy to ignore a fundamental question: who manages all this information?
In addition to companies like Google, IBM, and Microsoft, there's LexisNexis and Kelley alumnus Steven Wildfeuer.
Wildfeuer is vice president and lead intellectual property counsel for LexisNexis, which provides business information solutions to law firms, corporations, the U.S. government, financial institutions, and colleges and universities. He’s responsible for protecting LexisNexis’s expansive intellectual property assets, which include more than 5 billion searchable documents licensed from more than 40,000 sources, including the Times.
Any given day, he might investigate copyright infringement or review the terms and conditions for a social networking site for attorneys. Because intellectual property law is constantly evolving, yes/no answers and black-and-white solutions are rare—which is exactly what Wildfeuer loves about his job.
“I deal with a lot of cutting-edge issues—areas where it’s not clear what the answer is,” he says. “There's a lot of gray area” that allows frequent opportunities for him to set precedents that will be followed by companies worldwide.
Besides safeguarding licensed property, Wildfeuer helps protect LexisNexis products and services. He gets involved even before a product launches by comparing the product’s proposed name with trademarks in the United States and abroad. If the name is too similar to an existing product’s, he works with the marketing staff to find an alternative.
Wildfeuer was instrumental in extending the LexisNexis brand to overseas affiliates, and he was a member of the LexisNexis Global Marketing Steering Committee. Now he attends the chief marketing officer's staff meetings to get updates on the organization's strategy and offer his insights.
“It's a huge advantage to be able to analyze marketing objectives from both a legal and business perspective,” he says.
Wildfeuer's business perspective was honed at Kelley, where he studied marketing before earning a JD at the DePaul University College of Law. “The Kelley School of Business gave me the skills and knowledge I needed to be successful in my career,” he says. “From the curriculum to the professors to the overall experience, it thoroughly prepared me for the future.”
Now Wildfeuer looks to the future every day, charting the course of intellectual property law for one of the world’s leading information companies. “It’s great to have the quality and reputation of the Kelley School as part of my credentials,” he says, “whether I’m working with someone in the United States, London, Singapore, or Buenos Aires.”
- Most memorable Kelley experience:
I-Core. “It was a tough semester of all the core classes. I just remember getting with groups of people, especially before tests, and studying late into the night. It was challenging but also rewarding.”
- Lifelong friends:
Gets together with some of his Kelley classmates once or twice a year to watch IU basketball or football.
- They bleed IU crimson:
His wife, sister, sister-in-law, mother-in-law, father-in-law, and several of his wife's aunts, uncles, and cousins attended IU. His wife's grandfather, Charles Leedke, played basketball for IU in the 1940s.
- License plate: