been struggling for more than a decade.
After rumors of the reversal sent shares into the tank, after-hours trading of ParkerVision’s stock was halted while awaiting the official verdict. Upon release of the news, ParkerVision stock plummeted 72 percent from Friday’s closing price of $5.01 to open at $1.38 on Monday, which prompted trading to be halted again for over an hour due to volatility.
As of midday, it has recovered a fraction of what it lost and is back up to a modest $2.04 for a loss of almost 60 percent.
Three Years of Patent Trolling?
ParkerVision, a small-cap communications company that manufactures proprietary radio frequency products for use in wireless devices, appears to have placed all its eggs in one basket and has been given the pejorative title of “patent troll” on more than one occasion. After almost ten years struggling to bring their technology to the market, in 2011 ParkerVision filed a lawsuit against Qualcomm claiming infringement of six of its patents.
Despite criticism of patent trolling, ParkerVision continues to manufacture and introduce new products to the market. Its latest announcement of three new radio frequency integrated circuits came in February 2014. The press release expressed the company’s efforts to continue developing marketable products rather than to survive solely on the spoils of patent lawsuits.
In anticipation and upon official release of the favorable verdict, ParkerVision stock surged 189 percent from Oct. 14 to 23 and topping out at $7.09, but plummeted the next day following the judge’s ruling that it would only award $173 million in damages. This amount was nowhere close to the near $500 million ParkerVision and its bullish investors had been expecting. The additional royalty charge of $0.23 per unit on future use by Qualcomm wasn’t enough to maintain ParkerVision investor morale.
Barking at the Big Dogs: ParkerVision Continues Yapping at Qualcomm
ParkerVision scrambled to recover what value it lost that day by proceeding with the case and requesting an injunction against Qualcomm, which would have required Qualcomm to halt chip shipments into the US for sale to its mobile technology partners.
Between the two companies, Qualcomm dominates in the wireless technology sector; its baseband chips are used in a range of high-end smartphones, from iPhones to Samsung’s Galaxy line. At the time of the 2013 ruling, Qualcomm products represented 80 percent of handset shipments into the US, making an injunction ruling extremely unlikely. It is currently the world’s largest maker of phone chips.
Though it recovered some of what it lost at the end of October, ParkerVision was unable to garner enough belief in its company to peak beyond $5.59 a share. Relying on its first win, ParkerVision brought Qualcomm to court once again. Executives filed a second lawsuit at the beginning of May and named HTC as an infringer of seven patents different from the original six that won ParkerVision the initial case.
They have since lost the favorable ruling from the first case, and both the $173 million award as well as the per-unit royalty charge has been revoked. Despite the court’s blow and subsequent plunge in stock price, ParkerVision is sticking to its guns. CEO Jeffrey Parker announced that while he is pleased the court upheld the validity of the patents in question, the company will appeal the ruling that Qualcomm did not infringe any of the six patents. Qualcomm is currently down 0.31 percent.
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