Asure Software

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Asure Software
Type Public
Traded as NASDAQASUR
Industry Patent monetization
Headquarters Austin, TX, United States
Key people Pat Goepel, Chief Executive Officer
Employees 142[1]
Website asuresoftware.com

Asure Software 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.[2][3] It also has a software division, NetSimplicity, which specializes in room scheduling and fixed assets management software.

Effective September 13, 2007, Forgent acquired iEmployee.[4]

Patents and litigation[edit]

JPEG[edit]

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, hence not asserting one's rights in a timely manner, invalidates Forgent's 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.[5] 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.[6]

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.[7] PubPat's Executive Director, Dan Ravicher, says that the submitters knew about the prior art but failed to tell the USPTO about it.[8] 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.[9]

The company issued a press release on November 1, 2006 stating that they settled their remaining claims against roughly 60 companies. It was reported that the settlement came to $8 million and was paid by, among other companies, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft, and Sun Microsystems.

Digital video recorders[edit]

Forgent Networks has stated it is now shifting its focus to U.S. Patent 6,285,746, which relates to a computer controlled video system allowing playback during recording. This technology is very common in modern-day digital video recorders. While the patent was filed in 1991, the first litigation was initiated in 2005. On May 21, 2007, U.S. District Court of Eastern Texas ruled in favor of EchoStar Communications Corporation, on grounds that the patent is invalid.[10]

Asure Software[edit]

After Forgent Networks acquired iEmployee and subsequently changed its name to Asure Software, the website of the combined company no longer listed information related to the two patents - '672 and '746, compared to the old Forgent Networks website. [11]

Proxy Fight[edit]

In 2008, the company was the target of a proxy fight launched by Pinnacle Fund ("Pinnacle") and Red Oak Partners, managed by David Sandberg, who initially proposed a slate of 6 directors to replace the company's board. After a period of negotiations which included the unrelated resignation of one member of the board, a slate of 5 new directors was elected on August 28, 2009 to replace the previous board.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Company Profile for Forgent Networks Inc (ASUR)". Retrieved October 21, 2008. 
  2. ^ "Tuesday Business Roundup". May 29, 2007. Retrieved May 29, 2007. 
  3. ^ "The JPEG Enforcer". February 20, 2006. Retrieved May 29, 2007. 
  4. ^ "Company press release". Phx.corporate-ir.net. Retrieved August 8, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Forgent sues over JPEG technology patent". April 25, 2004. Retrieved May 29, 2007. 
  6. ^ "Concerning recent patent claims". July 19, 2002. Retrieved May 29, 2007. 
  7. ^ "Forgent JPEG Related Patent". Retrieved May 29, 2007. 
  8. ^ "USPTO: Broadest Claims Forgent Asserts Against JPEG Standard Invalid". May 26, 2006. Retrieved May 29, 2007. 
  9. ^ "Forgent Networks Brushes Off Delisting Fears". January 5, 2007. Archived from the original on October 7, 2007. Retrieved May 29, 2007. 
  10. ^ "EchoStar Defeats Forgent's Patent Suit". seekingalpha.com. May 22, 2007. Retrieved May 29, 2007. 
  11. ^ "Workforce Optimization Software". Asure Software. Retrieved August 8, 2011. 

External links[edit]