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New York Hedge Fund Starboard Value Keeping Pressure on Silicon Valley Tech Companies

May 22, 2013

​Bryan Kohm, an associate in Fenwick & West’s patent litigation group, is quoted in two San Jose Mercury News articles, “New York Hedge Fund Starboard Value Keeping Pressure on Silicon Valley Tech Companies” and “San Jose's Tessera Technologies Loses Proxy Showdown With Hedge Fund, Agrees to Sweeping Management Changes.”

The articles discuss the proxy battle for control of the board of San Jose-based Tessera Technologies, a company known for licensing semiconductor-packaging technology and often winning millions in patent infringement lawsuits. As the battle over the proposed slate of new directors heated up, the company’s CEO Richard Hill published a column on Forbes.com asking New York hedge fund Starboard Value not to turn his company into a “patent troll” by ceasing to develop new products and only license and enforce their existing patent portfolio.

Kohm told San Jose Mercury News that Silicon Valley companies are increasingly at risk for these kinds of shareholder actions.

"For decades, you've had situations where investors come in and realize the assets of the company are worth more than the company as a going concern," he said. "What we're seeing now is the realization that a patent portfolio can be one of those assets. Companies that seem to have a difficult road ahead of them are very susceptible.”