ParkerVision Sues Qualcomm Again in Case That Adds HTCPeter Burrows and Susan Decker
ParkerVision Inc., the wireless-chip designer that won a $173 million patent-infringement verdict against Qualcomm Inc. last year, sued the company again and went after one of its customers, mobile-phone maker HTC Corp.
The new lawsuit was filed on the same day a federal judge in Orlando, Florida, heard arguments on Qualcomm’s request to throw out the earlier verdict and ParkerVision’s demand that Qualcomm be ordered to stop using its patented technology. The judge denied both requests, according to Kevin Rivette of 3LP Advisors, which is working with ParkerVision on its licensing.
“We continue to believe that ParkerVision’s intellectual property is widely deployed in Qualcomm’s past, current and next generation chipsets,” including those sold by HTC, ParkerVision Chief Executive Jeff Parker said in a statement today.
Shares of ParkerVision, which reported no revenue last year and a loss of $27.9 million, rise or fall largely on activity in the Qualcomm lawsuit. The Jacksonville, Florida-based company is trying to broaden its business, hiring in February a company headed by former International Business Machines Corp. lawyer Rivette to negotiate patent licensing deals with chipmakers and mobile device manufacturers, which could include Broadcom Corp., Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.
“The entire value of the company is in its licensing ability,” said Cheryl Milone, chief executive officer of Article One Partners, a New York-based intellectual property advisory firm.
A jury in October found that Qualcomm infringed four ParkerVision patents for lowering the size and battery power of chips used in mobile devices to receive data from cell towers. The $173 million damage award was the second-biggest patent verdict in 2013, behind the $290 million awarded to Apple in a retrial of its fight with Samsung.
The new lawsuit involves patents that relate to the way mobile devices send information back to the cell tower. While the first trial focused on technology found in a $4 chip, the patents at issue in this case involve technology that typically cost $20 or more per device, according to Parker.
Qualcomm, based in San Diego, claimed in the first trial that it never used the technology and came up with its own ideas. The company is the biggest provider of mobile-phone chips, with $24.9 billion in revenue last year. HTC, based in Taoyuan, Taiwan, has reported declining sales for 10 straight quarters.
Officials with Qualcomm didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
ParkerVision shares rose 61 percent on Oct. 17 when it won the liability phase of the trial, then plunged 59 percent a week later when damages were less than half the $432 million in royalties the company had sought.
Parker has argued that the market for the company’s products dried up because of Qualcomm’s infringement.
During the trial, ParkerVision showed jurors e-mails in which Qualcomm executives called the inventions “revolutionary” and said it would be “very difficult for anybody to ever use this technique without stepping on” a ParkerVision patent. The two companies held licensing talks that failed in the late 1990s.
ParkerVision has one of the highest percentages of short-sellers, who own 27 percent of the company’s 96 million shares outstanding, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The company is seeking royalties dating back to 1999, Parker said in an interview last year. The Qualcomm court victory meant that “this time we don’t have to convince people to use our technology,” he said. “We just have to convince them to not use it without paying for it.”