The US-based PAE has been involved in several high profile lawsuits, including a string of cases involving standards essential patents against Chinese telecommunications company ZTE around the world (venues include the UK, Germany, India, Romania and Brazil).
In 2012, Vringo won a $30 million judgment against Google after a district court found that the search engine’s AdWords and AdSense programs infringed patents Vringo acquired from Lycos. Last year, the Federal Circuit overturned the verdict, causing Vringo’s stock price to tumble from $3.15 to $0.88 per share. The price then hovered around $1, the minimum required to be listed on the NASDAQ, but since December 1 has been trading for less than that.
As of writing, VRNG is trading at slightly above 60 cents a share.
Vringo’s announcement comes at a time when there is some concern about the viability of the PAE business model. A study from RPX showed that 2014 saw a significant drop in NPE-initiated litigation activity, and there was a decrease in patent litigation overall. This year however has seen a rebound in the number in the number of patent cases filed. And recently, Ray Niro, considered by some to be one of the first patent rolls, said that the Supreme Court decision in Octane Fitness has increased the risk to plaintiffs may lead to him leaving the NPE business.
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