Acacia’s Shares Plunge on ‘Markman’ Order

Rhett Pardon
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Shares of Acacia Technologies Group plunged Tuesday, falling as much as 37 percent, after an apparent unfavorable pre-trial ruling over patents for digital media transmission technology.

Acacia Technologies, a tracking stock of parent company Acacia Research Corp., felt tremors from an opinion by U.S. District Court Judge James Ware, who sided with more than a dozen adult entertainment companies in some of his decisions.

Acacia's stock hit a 10-month low of $3.60 in intraday trading. The stock, which trades on the Nasdaq, closed at $3.91, down $2.34. At 1.67 million shares, volume of the stock was 17 times the average daily volume of 92,100 shares.

In his “Markman” order, Ware specifically was bothered by the term “identification endoding means,” which he said is not definable and thus would invalidate some claims on one of Acacia’s patents.

A Markman order allows the judge overseeing a patent dispute to clarify some of the terms used to define the scope of a patent.

Ware called into question some of the company's video-streaming patents that the defendants, New Destiny Internet Group, has called “overly broad.”

Ware invited the defendants to seek a final decision that could invalidate some of Acacia's patent claims, which the company says cover the distribution of digital content through the Internet, cable, satellite and wireless systems.

The Newport Beach, Calif., company has filed similar patent infringement suits against nine cable and satellite firms, including Comcast Corp., DirectTV Group Inc. and EchoStar Communications Corp.

Acacia says it has licensed technology to 151 companies, including hotel room video content company T. Rowe Price Group Inc., Virgin Radio, Lodgenet Entertainment Corp. and the Walt Disney Co.

In a conference call Tuesday afternoon, Robert Berman, Acacia’s lead counsel, claims that “the company has more than enough” in capital to continue legal pursuits.

Calls to Acacia’s investor relations specialist Rob Stewart were not returned to XBiz Tuesday evening.