Asure Software (NASDAQ: ASUR) is a software company which has licensing as its primary revenue source. Prior to September 13, 2007, the company was known as Forgent Networks. Critics claim Asure profits primarily as a patent troll. It also has a software division, NetSimplicity, which specializes in room scheduling and fixed assets management software.
Effective September 13, 2007, Forgent acquired iEmployee.
Patents and litigation
In 2002, while known as Forgent, the company claimed that through its subsidiary, Compression Labs, it owned the patent rights on the JPEG image compression standard (U.S. Patent 4,698,672), which is widely used on the World Wide Web.
Critics claim that the legal principle of laches, not asserting your rights in a timely manner, invalidates Forgents claims on the patent. Critics also noted the similarity to Unisys' attempts to assert rights over the GIF image compression standard via LZW patent enforcement. The JPEG committee responded to Forgent's claims, stating that it believes prior art exists that would invalidate Forgent's claims, and launched a search for prior art evidence.
In April 2004, Forgent stated that 30 companies had already paid US$90 million in royalties. On April 23, lawsuits were filed against 31 companies, including Adobe Systems, Apple Computer and IBM, for infringement of their patent. On September 26, 2005, Axis Communications, one of the defendants, announced a settlement with Compression Labs Inc.; the terms were not disclosed. As of late October 2005, six companies were known to have licensed the patent from Forgent including Adobe, Macromedia, Axis, Color Dreams, and Research In Motion.
On May 25, 2006 the United States Patent and Trademark Office rejected the broadest part of Forgent Networks claims, stating prior art submitted by the Public Patent Foundation invalidated those claims. PubPat's Executive Director, Dan Ravicher, says that the submitters knew about the prior art but failed to tell the USPTO about it. On August 11, 2006 Forgent Networks received notice from the NASDAQ stock market regarding non-compliance with the minimum bid price rule, which can lead to delisting, before coming back into compliance in January 2007.
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