Acacia Acquires Electronic Messaging Patents

Steve Javors
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Acacia Patent Acquisition, a subsidiary of the Acacia Research Corp. has acquired rights to patents related to electronic message advertising.

Its patented technology “generally relates to the software, methods and systems used to insert, transmit and display background images and graphics,” according to Acacia. The technology is primarily featured in instant messaging skins and on email backgrounds.

Acacia has been involved in numerous overly broad patent claims in recent years, and this patent seems to fall in line of the company’s modus operandi of registering patents that are an “inflated interpretation of whatever patent they have acquired,” said Brandon Shalton, operator of FightThePatent.com, a site devoted to exposing patent abuse.

“Acacia is the poster child for patent reform,” Shalton told XBIZ. “The patent system was intended to protect smaller companies and inventors from being overrun by larger companies, but the reality is that larger companies are the ones massively filing patents and have the war chest to litigate even inflated or inaccurately-claimed patents.”

More than a dozen adult companies are still involved in infringement litigation with Acacia over the company’s claim to hold the patent to Digital Media Transmission. Acacia claims that its DMT patents cover nearly all forms of digital media transmission, including downloaded and streamed content.

Joint Defense Group, a coalition of adult companies working to combat the patent infringement claims that Acacia Technologies Group is leveling against the adult entertainment industry, includes ClubJenna, Cybernet Ventures Inc., Lightspeed, VS Media and Homegrown Video.

“Many companies feel it’s cheaper to just license than to defend themselves because when you add up the numbers, it makes more sense,” Shalton said. “Companies like Acacia then take the number of signees forward to show proof that the patent must be valid. Fortunately, patent reform is becoming less of an urban myth with organizations like the Coalition for Patent Reform and PubPat in addressing patent abuse.”

Acacia now controls 64 patent portfolios.