Acacia in Deal With On Command

Gretchen Gallen
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – Acacia Research Corp. resolved one of its outstanding patent infringement lawsuits Monday by licensing its Digital Media Transmission technology to On Command Corp., a provider of interactive in-room programming for the hotel industry.

Denver-based On Command is considered the world's largest provider of in-room media services and delivers content to an estimated 890,000 rooms, mostly major hotel chains. On Command also has dealings with DirecTV for programming and with Sony's PlayStation for video games.

The company is owned through Liberty Satellite & Technology, a subsidiary if Englewood, Colo.-based Liberty Media Liberty, a massive multimedia conglomerate that owns QVC, Encore, Starz!, Discovery, UnitedGlobalCom Inc., IAC/InterActiveCorp and News Corp.

Liberty Satellite & Technology also owns a range of video programming, satellite-delivered broadband distribution and satellite communication businesses, including Wildblue Communications, Astrolink International, and Sky Latin America.

On Command Corp reported revenue of $238.4 million in 2002.

On Command was sued by Acacia for patent infringement in November 2003 after which the company counter-sued and joined ranks with a group of adult industry companies led by the Homegrown defense team in U.S. District Court.

Lawyers for On Command attended each of the three Markman hearings in anticipation of a ruling, which at present is not due until sometime in late July.

"By our estimates, On Command was the largest defendant in our ongoing litigation both in terms of size and royalties to be paid to Acacia," Robert Berman, executive vice president of business development for Acacia, told XBiz. "On Command’s lawyers were present at the hearings, including all of the Markman hearings, and had the opportunity to participate and hear the arguments from all of the lawyers. We believe that their decision to settle at this point speaks for itself in terms of their perceived outcome of the case."

According to Berman, as part of the settlement, none of the parties made any concessions or admissions regarding the merits of the lawsuit.

Representatives for On Command or parent company Liberty Media were not available for comment at the time of this posting.