The New Year also has ushered in a series of patent dispute settlements.

Acacia Research announced its Telematics unit has reached a settlement with Sprint Nextel related to technology that displays vehicle information on maps. The suit was filed almost a year ago and also includes UPS and Motorola.

As part of the settlement Acacia said it has entered into a licensing agreement with the carrier, but gave no further terms of the deal.

Vonage also settled its latest round of litigation, this time with Nortel. The suit involved Digital Packet Licensing patents acquired by Nortel. Vonage said the settlement doesn't include payment, and that instead, the two companies will license three patents to each other.

Vonage spent a significant part of last year tied up in patent disputes, including disputes with all three major U.S. telecoms. Most recently, the Internet telephony provider settled a patent dispute case with AT&T, agreeing to pay the carrier $39 million.

And finally, Motorola and Metrologic Instruments have announced the settlement of all outstanding patent infringement disputes. Metrologic and Motorola subsidiary Symbol Technologies have been in court over patents related to bar-code scanning and mobile computing since 2002. As part of the agreement, the two companies will cross-license patents for a limited time. Specific terms of the settlement were not disclosed.