XO settles patent dispute with Acacia Research subsidiary

Patent management firm Acacia Research Corporation said its subsidiary, Brilliant Optical Solutions, settled an ongoing patent dispute with XO Communications and signed a licensing agreement with the fiber network provider.

The case was pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

In April, Brilliant filed separate patent infringement suits against several service providers including FairPoint Communications (Nasdaq: FRP), Zayo Group, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Earthlink (Nasdaq: ELNK), and Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), and cable operators including Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC).

The suits alleged that the providers were infringing on a patent awarded in 1996 to inventor Joseph Zelikovitz, entitled "Fiber Optic Information Transmission System," which described a packet-based fiber optic network designed to overcome bottlenecks that occurred using conventional transmission methods of the time.

Google and Windstream settled with Brilliant in August and September, respectively.

Acacia Research, based in Newport Beach, Calif., works through its subsidiaries to "partner with inventors and patent owners, license the patents to corporate users, and share the revenue." The company says it controls over 250 patent portfolios.

Intellectual property is, to say the least, a hot-button topic in the telecom industry. In 2011, Google bid just under $1 billion to acquire most of the defunct Nortel's patents. The investment was a shrewd one on several levels, not least of which was its potential to protect Google from intellectual property lawsuits down the road.

For more:
- see the release
- see a copy of the Brilliant v. Google suit

Related articles:
Cable home automation firm iControl sues Alarm.com, FrontPoint Security for patent infringement
FTC to investigate patent trolls; Ford buys Livio
Google gets green light to buy Nortel patents amidst competitor objections

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