Asure Software is a software company. Prior to September 13, 2007, the company was known as Forgent Networks. After rebranding as Asure Software, the company expanded into offering human capital management (HCM) solutions, including payroll, time & attendance, talent management, human resource management, benefits administration and insurance services. It also has a software division, NetSimplicity, which specializes in room scheduling and fixed assets management software.
|Traded as||NASDAQ: ASUR|
Russell 2000 Index component
|Industry||Software as a service|
|Pat Goepel, Chief Executive Officer|
Number of employees
Patents and litigationEdit
In 2002, while known as Forgent, the company claimed that through its subsidiary, Compression Labs, it owned the patent rights on the JPEG image compression standard, which is widely used on the World Wide Web. Its claim arose from a patent that had been filed on October 27, 1986, and granted on October 6, 1987: U.S. Patent 4,698,672 by Wen-Hsiung Chen and Daniel J. Klenke. While Forgent did not own Compression Labs at the time, Chen later sold the company to Forgent before joining Cisco.
Critics claim that the legal principle of laches, hence not asserting one's rights in a timely manner, invalidates Forgent's claims on the patent. Critics also noted the similarity to Unisys' attempts to assert rights over the GIF image compression standard via LZW patent enforcement. The JPEG committee responded to Forgent's claims, stating that it believes prior art exists that would invalidate Forgent's claims, and launched a search for prior art evidence. The 1992 JPEG specification cited two earlier research papers written by Wen-Hsiung Chen, published in 1977 and 1984. JPEG representative Richard Clark also claimed that Chen sat in one of the JPEG committees, but Forgent denied this claim.
In April 2004, Forgent stated that 30 companies had already paid US$90 million in royalties. On April 23, lawsuits were filed against 31 companies, including Adobe Systems, Apple Computer and IBM, for infringement of their patent. On September 26, 2005, Axis Communications, one of the defendants, announced a settlement with Compression Labs Inc.; the terms were not disclosed. As of late October 2005, six companies were known to have licensed the patent from Forgent including Adobe, Macromedia, Axis, Color Dreams, and Research In Motion.
On May 25, 2006, the United States Patent and Trademark Office rejected the broadest part of Forgent Networks claims, stating prior art submitted by the Public Patent Foundation invalidated those claims. PubPat's Executive Director, Dan Ravicher, says that the submitters knew about the prior art but failed to tell the USPTO about it. On August 11, 2006 Forgent Networks received notice from the NASDAQ stock market regarding non-compliance with the minimum bid price rule, which can lead to delisting, before coming back into compliance in January 2007.
The company issued a press release on November 1, 2006 stating that they settled their remaining claims against roughly 60 companies. It was reported that the settlement came to $8 million and was paid by, among other companies, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft, and Sun Microsystems.
Digital video recordersEdit
Forgent Networks shifted its focus to a computer controlled video system allowing playback during recording. This technology is very common in modern-day digital video recorders. While the patent was filed in 1991, the first litigation was initiated in 2005. On May 21, 2007, U.S. District Court of Eastern Texas ruled in favor of EchoStar Communications Corporation, on grounds that the patent is invalid.
After Forgent Networks acquired iEmployee and subsequently changed its name to Asure Software, the website of the combined company no longer listed information related to the two patents - '672 and '746, compared to the old Forgent Networks website.
In 2008, the company was the target of a proxy fight launched by Pinnacle Fund ("Pinnacle") and Red Oak Partners, managed by David Sandberg, who initially proposed a slate of 6 directors to replace the company's board. After a period of negotiations which included the unrelated resignation of one member of the board, a slate of 5 new directors was elected on August 28, 2009 to replace the previous board.
On September 13, 2007, Forgent acquired iEmployee.
On October 3, 2011, Asure Software announced that it has acquired ADI Time®, a Warwick, R.I.-based leading vendor of cloud computing time and attendance software and labor management services.
On March 21, 2016, Asure Software announced that it had acquired Mangrove Employer Services, which developed software relating to human resource management. Asure began massive layoffs in June 2016 of previous Mangrove employees.
In May 2017, Asure Software acquired the Tampa-based company Compass HRM Inc., for $6 million. Compass HRM Inc. provides services focused on human resources and payroll.
In May 2017, Asure also acquired iSystems LLC of South Burlington VT, creators of the Evolution payroll service-bureau software.
January 2, 2018 Asure Software acquired Sheakley PaySystems which was Sheakley's payroll and HRIS software division. It was a move to consume Sheakley's payroll clients in the Midwest, mostly Ohio.
- "Asure Software: An Undervalued SaaS Growth Story With Substantial Upside Potential". Retrieved February 2, 2015.
- Lemos, Robert (July 23, 2002). "Finding patent truth in JPEG claim". CNET. Retrieved July 13, 2019.
- "Forgent sues over JPEG technology patent". April 25, 2004. Retrieved May 29, 2007.
- "Concerning recent patent claims". July 19, 2002. Archived from the original on July 14, 2007. Retrieved May 29, 2007.
- "T.81 – DIGITAL COMPRESSION AND CODING OF CONTINUOUS-TONE STILL IMAGES – REQUIREMENTS AND GUIDELINES" (PDF). CCITT. September 1992. Retrieved July 12, 2019.
- "Forgent JPEG Related Patent". Retrieved May 29, 2007.
- "USPTO: Broadest Claims Forgent Asserts Against JPEG Standard Invalid". May 26, 2006. Retrieved May 29, 2007.
- "Forgent Networks Brushes Off Delisting Fears". January 5, 2007. Archived from the original on October 7, 2007. Retrieved May 29, 2007.
- "EchoStar Defeats Forgent's Patent Suit". seekingalpha.com. May 22, 2007. Archived from the original on February 2, 2013. Retrieved May 29, 2007.
- "Workforce Optimization Software". Asure Software. Archived from the original on August 7, 2011. Retrieved August 8, 2011.
- "Company press release". Phx.corporate-ir.net. Retrieved August 8, 2011.
- "Asure Software Acquires Mangrove Software | Asure Software". www.asuresoftware.com. Archived from the original on March 24, 2016. Retrieved March 22, 2016.
- Carollo, Malena. "Austin software company acquires second Tampa business". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved June 22, 2017.