Thursday, December 02, 2004

DEAR GOD . . . The software patent ambitions of Acacia Research are well-known to the streaming media industry. Acacia initially targeted Web pornographers, shutting down sites that neglected to pay its licensing fees, but since then has exacted license fees from a broad array of cable, satellite and Web content companies that now number 264 and include Walt Disney.

Acacia's latest target centers on its patent describing how wireless networks present unidentified computer users with Web pages that redirect them to log-in or subscription pages. Hotels, airports and other areas with Wi-Fi hot spots typically use such redirection schemes.

Acacia's patent, No. 6,226,677, was originally granted in May 2001 to LodgeNet Entertainment, a Sioux Falls, S.D., information technology company targeting hotels. Acacia purchased the patent in July.

Berman said Acacia launched its Wi-Fi licensing campaign in September and is in advanced licensing discussions with a number of potential licensees. No Wi-Fi licenses have been signed yet.

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