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After leading NTP Inc. to a US$612.5-million settlement in its patent lawsuit with Research In Motion Ltd., Donald Stout would have every reason — and probably the money — to retire. Instead, the 60-year-old Arlington, Va., lawyer has been retained by none other than a Canadian firm: Belzberg Technologies (TSX: BLZ).
Under dispute is a U.S. patent, No. 5,864,827, which Toronto-based Belzberg ( No. 74 on the Tech 100) received in 1999 for a “system and method of providing an information gateway,” as well as a second European patent. Belzberg's gateway translates the network protocol language used by brokers and their institutional clients into the languages used by each of the major exchanges around the world.
“By having a gateway that connects all these exchanges,” explains chief executive officer Sidney Belzberg, who co-founded the company in 1993 with his wife, Alicia, “we allowed the buy side to not only go directly to the exchanges, but also to automatically search for smart-order routing, to figure out where the best price is in all these different markets, because many of the stocks trade in multiple markets.”
Is Belzberg's move to retain Stout as its patent lawyer a bold stroke, or just an attention-grabbing bluff? Hard to say. But the Research In Motion – NTP patent brouhaha shows Stout has been written off before, and look where it got him that time around.
How it works:
Institutional clients place an order in the Financial Information Exchange protocol. The order then travels over a secure connection to Belzberg's data centre or brokerage house. Using the exchanges' data, the order is routed to the exchange with the best price. The order is translated from FIX into protocols used by the exchanges and completed.