The bookcase in Rob Berman’s Newport Beach, Calif., office is crammed with corporate swag: a laser pointer with a Bloomberg LP logo, a puzzle from LodgeNet Entertainment Corp., even a bottle of vodka with the Virgin Entertainment Group label. Berman, general counsel for Acacia Technologies Group, says he used to seek out these trinkets from licensees, but recently he stopped asking for them. Acacia has been reeling in new licensees with such regularity that he’s run out of shelf space.
For a company that doesn’t manufacture anything and is best known for enforcing streaming media patents — which were dubbed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in 2004 as “laughably broad” — Berman’s company has been flying high on Wall Street. As of this writing, the publicly traded company has more than tripled its stock price, to nearly $14, and has quadrupled its revenue, to $35.9 million. Where once Acacia puttered along on small, one-time licensing fees from Internet pornography sites, the company now has hundreds of licensees that include Fortune 500 firms such as Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp., Intel Corp., Lenovo Group, Ltd. and Nokia Corp.
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