Marathon Patent Group Inc. (MARA) the patent licensing company run by CEO Doug Croxall, said it has it has acquired a new subsidiary, 3D Nanocolor Corp., which used to be called Caldera Technologies, using intellectual property licensed from Hewlett-Packard.
Los Angeles-based Marathon said it has provided an initial round of seed capital described as de minimus. The renamed 3D Nanocolor also has commitments from outside investors for development and growth capital. The outside investors were not identified.
With the formation of a new subsidiary to commercialize a product Marathon has joined a growing cadre of patent licensing companies that has launched new products to bring in much need revenue and potential profits. Other licensing companies to launch similar efforts include Vringo Inc. (VRNG) and Finjan Inc. (FNJN).
In October, New York-based Vringo, the patent licensing company run by CEO Andrew Perlman, paid $6.33 million in stock for International Development Group, the holding company for wire-free charging technology company Fli Charge, and Group Mobile, the built to order supplier of rugged computers and mobile devices.
In June, East Palo Alto, Calif.,-based Finjan, the cybersecurity and patent monetization company run by CEO Phil Hartstein, said it has re-entered the business of developing and producing cyber secure products, the first of which will be the Finjan Mobile Secure Browser application. Finjan also in June said it formed a new unit called CybeRisk Security Solutions to provide cybersecurity risk advisory services to customers around the world.
Marathon and other patent licensing companies have been sharply criticized for being so-called patent trolls because they don’t make any products and only make money by filing enforcement actions against companies that actually make products. By forming units that make products and offer services, they are hoping to partially insulate themselves from such criticism.
Under the terms of the license, the former Caldera Technologies has acquired from Hewlett-Packard worldwide rights, with an option to acquire issued patents and associated proprietary technology, to technology called electro-kinetic film.
Marathon said the IP licensed by 3D Nanocolor is a result of years of research and development at HP and an advancement of HP’s leadership in microfluidic technology.
3D Nanocolor will be tasked with building on HP’s electro-kinetic film IP and inventions related to the physical sciences.
The company will be managed by James Douvikas and Tim Koch, two former HP senior engineering and business development leaders, who had significant involvement with electro-kinetic technology at HP.
Douvikas previously was CEO and co-founder of Caldera Technologies since September 2013. Before that he spent 35 years at Hewlett-Packard from 1978 to 2013. His last position at HP was new business development manager.
Koch has been chief technology officer of Caldera Technologies since August 2015. Prior to that, he was director of display engineering at Altierre from October 2012 to July 2015. He previously was a senior research and development engineering manager at Hewlett-Packard from 2005 to October 2012.
3D Nanocolor’s electro-kinetic film technology is an optical switching film using electrically charged ink that can be applied to glass surfaces to enable dynamic control of color and contrast.
With the technology 3D Nanocolor and Marathon will target the multi-billion dollar commercial smart glass and window market. The patented technology enables all kinds of surfaces to change both color and opaqueness almost instantly, making it ideal for numerous aesthetic, privacy, and energy conservation applications.
Marathon said 3D Nanocolor’s electro-kinetic technology “is positioned to be disruptive in the smart glass and window market due to the combination of its four distinct advantages over the current leading smart window technology, electrochromic technology (EC).”
Those advantage include multiple colors that can be created and controlled, compared with the blue tint color currently available today.
Marathon also said 3D Nanocolor’s durable electro-kinetic film can be applied to existing windows and doors, giving it a potential addressable smart glass and window market that dwarfs the limited new construction market or complete window replacement addressable by electrochromic film.
The company also noted that the manufacturing and production costs of 3D Nanocolor’s electro-kinetic film are substantially lower when compared to electrochromic film.
Finally, Marathon noted that adjustments in color/contrast using electro-kinetic film are much faster than is available using electro-chromic technology.
“For the first time in the smart glass and window market, our patented EK technology promises to bring together the two most important attributes needed to drive mass commercial adoption - lower cost and appealing aesthetics,” Koch said in a statement. “Enhancing privacy and energy efficiency with decorative and visually appealing affordable smart glass is a winning combination for 3D Nanocolor.”
Koch asserted that 3D Nanocolor’s technology is positioned to be the first commercially available multi-color smart glass solution that can be applied to existing window installations, a dramatically larger market opportunity then that of electrochromic technology which is applicable largely to only new construction.”
Croxall said in the statement that the launch of Marathon’s IP commercialization platform complements its patent licensing business.
“We spent extensive time evaluating a myriad of opportunities before choosing HP’s technology. 3D Nanocolor will be our first subsidiary focused on commercialization. HP’s rich portfolio of patents demonstrates its novelty and application. We believe HP’s investment, combined with James’ and Tim’s expertise in developing the technology as part of the HP team responsible for its creation, offers a sizeable opportunity for Marathon shareholders.”
He added that it is Marathon’s intention that 3D Nanocolor “be the model for what we expect could be many future publicly traded spin-out’s resulting in dividends of our commercialization subsidiaries to Marathon shareholders.”
—To reach the reporter responsible for this story, please contact Dan Lonkevich at 707 318-7899 or email@example.com