Avaya Divests VoIP Portfolio to Dominion Harbor

April 5, 2024

Though the deal has yet to be fully reflected in public USPTO assignment records, Dominion Harbor Enterprises, LLC announced on April 3, 2024 that its subsidiary Arlington Technologies, LLC has acquired a “significant portfolio of patents” related to “pioneering voice over internet protocol (VOIP) technology and include more than 675 families, totaling over 1,500 individual patent assets”. The source is Avaya, described in Dominion’s press release as “a global leader in customer experience and communications solutions”. Per David Pridham, Dominion’s chairman and CEO, in that release, “While these patents are no longer core to Avaya’s cloud-based strategy, they will serve as valuable technology resources for companies worldwide that want to provide the best possible VOIP service and care to their customers”. 

Dominion Harbor (and its earlier incarnation, Dominion Harbor Group, LLC) was established by Pridham, former cofounder and CEO of IP Navigation Group, LLC (d/b/a IPNav), together with other IPNav veterans. Dominion Harbor Group was formed in Texas in October 2013; around March 2017, the Group appears to have shifted operations to the Enterprises entity, which was formed in Texas in January 2016 with Pridham as its managing member. (Note, however, that the firm liberally interchanges “Dominion Harbor Enterprises” and “Dominion Harbor Group” with simply “Dominion Harbor” in its materials.)

A more significant shift occurred around the same time, Dominion moving away from small portfolio acquisitions and more modest litigation campaigns to substantial acquisitions and related licensing efforts, principally through a set of similarly named “Ventures” vehicles: Monument Peak Ventures, LLC (MPV), holding and litigating a large portfolio of former Eastman Kodak patents beginning in March 2018; Vista Peak Ventures LLC (VPV), holding and litigating a large portfolio of former NEC patents beginning in July 2018; Sovereign Peak Ventures LLC (SPV), holding and litigating a large portfolio of former Panasonic patents beginning in December 2018; and Liberty Peak Ventures, LLC (LPV), holding and litigating a large portfolio of former American Express patents beginning in July 2021.

MPV, VPV, and LPV acquired their assets from Intellectual Ventures LLC (IV), while SPV picked up its portfolio directly from Panasonic. Throughout 2021, yet another such “Ventures” entity, Columbia Peak Ventures LLC (CPV), acquired patent assets directly from various sources, culminating in the December pickup of a portfolio of over 300 patents from Seiko Epson. CPV has yet to assert them in litigation. In Dominion’s most recent litigation campaign, its subsidiary Redwood Technologies, LLC asserts patents acquired with its portfolio of roughly 240 assets from Wi-Fi One, LLC, a subsidiary of Inception Holdings, LLC, in November 2021. The original development work for the bulk of the transacted patents was conducted at either Panasonic or Sony.

In a recent interview with IAM, Pridham expressed that “[n]inety percent of [Dominion’s] deals are done without litigation, litigating only “when we have to”. He apparently indicated that more patent deals are coming for Dominion, saying “We expect to have over 20,000 patents by the end of the year”. New homes for the additional patent pickups have been prepared in Texas, Dominion creating Bunker Hill Technologies, LLC; Peninsula Technologies, LLC; Plymouth Technologies, LLC; and Rushmore Technologies, LLC—in addition to Arlington Technologies—in the state, each in April 2022 and each naming Monument IP Fund 2, LLC (formed in Texas in 2015) as its managing member.

A spinoff of Lucent Technologies (itself spun out of AT&T), Avaya has twice entered bankruptcy, emerging in May 2023 reportedly with $650M in liquidity and a continuing interest in divesting additional patent assets. Tech+IP Advisory was reportedly Avaya’s financial advisor in connection with the Dominion transaction, with Ed Fish, the co-founder and managing director of Tech+IP, suggesting to IAM that “[t]he VoIP portfolio sold to Dominion Harbor is only the first of multiple portfolios that Avaya intends to put on the secondary patent market”.

On April 2, 2024, Ubiquity Software, an Avaya subsidiary, assigned three US patents to Arlington Technologies, which may mark the first transfer of the assets divested through this deal.