Observers say Immersion's era of aggressive litigation and licensing was a success. In defending its patents on "haptic" technology for applying touch sensation and control to computer programs, the company beat Sony, got money out of Microsoft, and has signed up medical, car and cell phone companies for patent licenses.
Last year, the company turned a profit for the first time ever because of the Sony money. It also brought in about $12 million of its $35 million in revenue from royalties and licensing.
"It's a good accomplishment," said Joe Chernesky, president of IP investment bank IPotential.
But to others in the world beyond IP lawyers, Immersion is anathema.
"I'm not a fan of their IP licensing program," said Michael Masnick, CEO of Techdirt, a consulting company that also has an eponymous blog covering technology, innovation and the law.
"I just thought they were using it to set up a tollbooth against some of the companies that were doing real innovation in the space," Masnick said. "Instead of focusing on commercialization, they focused on making it more expensive for others to commercialize."