Defensive patent aggregation firm AST celebrates its 10th birthday this year at a time when it is on something of a roll. Last year, the firm successfully coordinated IP3, which, in a first for the market, brought together a group of operating companies to offer patent owners a quick and efficient way of selling their rights. It has also started to expand its reach into new markets in Asia; relaxing its rules around buying portfolios so they no longer need to include a US grant. What's more, it has raised the possibility of moving back into the market for some of the largest deals, with management admitting that it looked at a possible bid for the Yahoo!’s Excalibur portfolio.

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