A U.S. investment firm specializing in the exploitation of intellectual property rights related to industrial processes, Avnet Technologies, has acquired the patents held by Italy's Optigen for the manufacture of shape memory alloys. The patents are valid until 2017 and their validity has been proven by several courts. Based on a special process that guarantees the retention of the original shape at a wide range of temperatures, the technology is being licensed to a growing number of eyewear producers. Paolo Rossini, who ran Optigen, has sold his 25 percent stake in the company and is now acting as a consultant for the eyewear trade. Theo Mohwinckel continues to negotiate the related licensing agreements as an exclusive agent through his own Swiss-based company, Intop.