Five years ago, Negotiated Data Solutions, or N-Data, obtained the patents related to Ethernet autonegotiation. It then proceeded to squeeze Ethernet hardware companies for huge licensing payments. The problem was that the original patent-holder had already struck a deal with the IEEE many years before for much smaller payments. Luckily for the network hardware industry, the FTC earlier this year ruled that consumers would be hurt by N-Data and reached a deal with the company. Still, N-Data was back in the news later in the year, this time over patents related to USB and High Definition Audio.