What happened

Shares of Impinj (NASDAQ:PI) gained 15.5% in June 2019, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The radio frequency ID (RFID) chip maker rose on signs of improving market conditions, with a slight assist from Impinj's legal department.

So what

First and foremost, Impinj rose along with the rest of the tech sector as Beijing and Washington inched closer to some sort of resolution in their tariff-fueled trade conflict. That geopolitical quirk has been weighing on Impinj's shares over the last year, along with a distribution pipeline overstuffed since several major clients overestimated their RFID endpoint needs in 2017 and early 2018.

Furthermore, consumer-level RFID usage got a couple of potential boosts last month. Athletic wear giant Nike (NYSE:NKE) said that it will include RFID tags in "nearly all" of its merchandise going forward, and British Airways announced a partnership with RFID-based baggage tagging specialist ViewTag. Impinj isn't explicitly a party to either of these deals, but it is likely to play a part as a lead in the RFID space -- and Impinj chips have been found inside ViewTag devices in the past.

Finally, Impinj launched a patent infringement lawsuit against fellow RFID tag maker NXP Semiconductors (NASDAQ:NXPI). In the filing, the company accused NXP of selling RFID products based on more than 20 Impinj patents without a license that would allow such a design.

Close-up shot of a very small RFID endpoint chip resting on a fingertip.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Unclogging the international trade system could trigger a revival in RFID demand, so Impinj investors should pay close attention to global business trends. Adding new markets to the global RFID trade should be good for Impinj in the long run, even if the company isn't guaranteed to benefit from the expansion right away.

As for the NXP scuffle, RFID tags account for a very small portion of the Dutch company's $9.2 billion of annual revenues. Settling a minor legal dispute may not be high on NXP's list of priorities, but even a modest settlement or licensing agreement could make a big difference to Impinj, whose annual revenues currently stand at just $131 million.

All told, Impinj is starting to recover from last year's dramatic plunge. The stock has now gained 44% over the last 52 weeks and is setting 52-week highs on an almost daily basis.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.