With shares down nearly 50% in the past year, it has been a rough go for investors in wireless technology developer InterDigital Communications (Nasdaq: IDCC). The company's fourth-quarter earnings report didn't inspire much hope for invigorated growth, either, and investors responded by dropping the stock another 6%.

On Thursday, InterDigital reported $54.9 million in revenue for the quarter, of which $50.3 million was recurring revenue from patent royalties. Like fellow licensor Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM), the company gets royalty reports from customers months in advance of earnings, resulting in few surprises come earnings day. The company noted that it was able to grow patent royalty revenue year over year despite losing $4.9 million of recurring patent license royalties from Ericsson (Nasdaq: ERIC) and its partner Sony (NYSE: SNE) (in joint venture Sony Ericsson).

The bottom line suffered because of increased expenses, though, as InterDigital reported a net loss of $2 million, or $0.04 per share, for the quarter. A significant expense was a $5.1 million reserve for its ongoing litigation in the U.K. with mobile-phone maker Nokia (NYSE: NOK). InterDigital officials believe it's unlikely the company will be forced to cover Nokia's legal expenses, and that a ruling expected in April will allow it to keep the money, so it has included it with pro-forma earnings.

Phone makers LG, Sharp, and NEC still make up the bulk of InterDigital's recurring income: LG accounted for 28%, Sharp for 17%, and NEC for 11% of recurring patent license royalties and technology solution sales this quarter. So far, recent licenses with Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM) and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) haven't resulted in more than 10% of revenue from them, despite the success of their products.

So patience is still the theme for investors in InterDigital. While the growth in recurring revenue for the quarter underwhelmed many, the company expects to report a respectable $53 million to $55 million next quarter. It also recently signed a license with a leading Asian chip manufacturer and continues to buy back stock. But because new licenses take more time to contribute to growth, investors should still expect volatility based on the outcome of ongoing court cases and legal disputes.

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Fool contributor Dave Mock doesn't know where the idea for a deep-fried breaded hot dog on a stick came from, but he's happy about it nonetheless. He owns shares of Qualcomm and is the author of The Qualcomm Equation. Apple is a Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool has a disclosure policy, but it's willing to share if you don't have one of your own.