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Tech Bankruptcy
February 23, 2009
  More: Qimonda again,BroadRamp
About February 20, 2009, Qimonda Richmond, LLC, and its parent, Qimonda North America Corp., filed chapter 11 petitions in Delaware. The docket number is 09-10589. I wrote about Qimonda previously.

Online video delivery company, BroadRamp, Inc., filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy recently, according to My San Antonio. I notice the website is still up and running. I also notice that they stopped issuing press releases back in April 2008. When a tech start-up stops issuing press releases it is usually a pretty clear sign that something is amiss with the cash flow.

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February 13, 2009
  Midway Games files Chapter 11
As predicted back in December, Midway Games, Inc. filed its Chapter 11 petition on February 12, 2009, in Delaware. The case number is 09-10465. A maker of computer games available through retail outlets and on-line, Midway Games claims in its press release that its fundamental business is stable, but that obligations related to stock repurchase agreements forced it to seek Chapter 11. European operations will not be affected.

A number of its titles, such as Mortal Kombat v. DC Universe depend on licensing deals and it will be interesting to see if Midway runs into problems assuming those licenses.


February 10, 2009
  Some Recent Thoughts on Selling Patents
Yesterday, I received the following e-mail from John Lynn, the president of a patent incubator of sorts called Discovery Alliance:

Do you have any patents or patent applications that you are interested in liquidating?

I am writing to you as a Chapter 7 trustee. If any of your Chapter 7 clients have intellectual property you need to liquidate, we can help. Discovery Alliance is purchasing patents and patent applications.

We are a subsidiary of Capital Southwest, a well respected, publicly traded investment company (NASDAQ; CSWC) and we are experts on patents. Accordingly, we can quickly make a decision on the potential value of your patents or patent applications

I have to admit that in my role as a chapter 7 trustee, good patents don't come across my desk all that often. Occasionally, I get a gig liquidating one for some other trustee. I have marketed and sold a couple over the years, and finding buyers can be tough. More and more though, I am hearing about this kind of buyer - the company that for profit or otherwise is interested in picking up patents for speculative or other reasons. 

There are a few patent exchanges out there. Tynax and Ocean Tomo come to mind. Neither seems quite suitable for use by the chapter 7 trustee trying to liquidate a relatively valueless patent owned by some small start-up or investor. 

Patent trolls exist, but the patent better have some serious value to interest them. They have no use for the patent unless it provides the prospect for at least a few million in licensing fees. Similarly, the consortiums developed to keep key patents away from the trolls (such as RPX Rational Patent and Allied Security Trust) are only interested in the key patents.

Discovery Alliance seems a little different. According to a September 2008 press release, the company plans to identify and invest in IP for the purpose of commercializing the technology. It will focus primarily on patents that fit the existing business plans of its parent's affiliates. And, reaching out to chapter 7 trustees seems a little entrepreneurial, so perhaps they will find a role acting as a stalking horse bidder.

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February 05, 2009
  Other failed tech: Qimonda, FakeTown, Charter Communications, Brighter Minds Media
According to the Yrsys Technology Blog, Qimonda, a chipmaker based in Germany who had a 10% share of the DRAM (those things in your computer that remember everything) market in Q3 2008 became the first major memory chip maker to file for bankruptcy following the rapid dive in memory chip prices. Doesn't say where.

Does it seem sometimes that the whole world is heading for insolvency? In the case of Faketown, a virtual world, that's exactly what happened. Faketown shut down in July due to financial troubles according to an article I recently came across in Virtual Worlds News. Looks like it was a Chapter 7 case.

Reuters reports that cable company, Charter Communications is preparing a bankruptcy petition.

If that wouldn't create a sticky mess, how about the fact that Brighter Minds Media, the publisher of software title "World of Goo," filed a Chapter 11 petition on January 28, 2009.

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  Incentra Solutions files Ch 11
IT outsourcing and datacenter firm, Incentra Solutions, Inc., filed a Chapter 11 petition in Delaware yesterday. The lead case is named In re Managed Storage International, Inc., case no. 09-10368. According to the company press release, they have DIP funding and a buyer already lined up.

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A blog discussing the impact of technology on bankruptcy law and practice.

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Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Warren E. Agin is a partner in Swiggart & Agin, LLC, a boutique law firm in Boston, Massachusetts focusing on the needs of technology companies. Mr. Agin heads its bankruptcy department. The author of the book Bankruptcy and Secured Lending in Cyberspace (3rd Ed. West 2005), Mr. Agin also chaired the ABA's E-commerce and Insolvency Subcommittee from 1999 to 2005, co-chaired the Boston Bar Association's Internet and Computer Law Committee (2003-2005), and served on the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Technology and Information Services (2008-2011). Mr. Agin currently co-chairs the Editorial Board of Business Law Today. A contributing editor to Norton Bankruptcy Law and Practice, 3d, and co-author of its chapter on intellectual property for the past fifteen years, he is author of numerous legal articles and addresses on topics of technology, internet and bankruptcy law.

More: Qimonda again,BroadRamp
Midway Games files Chapter 11
Some Recent Thoughts on Selling Patents
Other failed tech: Qimonda, FakeTown, Charter Communications, Brighter Minds Media
Incentra Solutions files Ch 11
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