The jury is made up of individuals, like ourselves. They can make errors of judgement. In patent cases there are relatively strict rules of the court that are supposed to restrict/guide how that judgement occurs. The Markman ruling on claims construction and definitions is one of the 'rules of the road' that are supposed to be adhered to in forming the jury's decisions. Then there are other rulings such as what evidence to allow in and how that might be used. Some evidence and the way it is applied was, as determined by Judge Dalton in pre-trial rulings and hearings, was considered prejudicial if not used in a prescribed manner. While unusual, that alone has recently been used to seek appeal (Google Apple vs. Wi-LAN).
The primary ruling in patent cases is that of infringement and, sometimes, validity of the patent claims. There are certain and demonstrable claims construction as set out in the Markman ruling that determine infringement. If the jury can be shown to have ignored that set of 'rules of the road, the judge can overrule the jury. That is rare. That often compels the court to rule for reversal or appeal based on procedural grounds rather than the ruling outright.
The ruling itself can be appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.. That court works on patent cases on appeal or on cases brought to the ITC, US International Trade Commission.
That is the basic routes for appeal - from the perspective outside of being a lawyer. You can look this up without much effort.
The specific grounds for appeals to this court and beyond can likely be found in the various motions in the case.
Parkervision should get a reasonably favorable award from the jury based on the degree of favor shown during the infringement phase of the trial. What is 'favorable' might vary quite a lot depending on your perspective. I think its likely to be much higher than what I myself think as being reasonable but lower than the treble damages award some might expect. $200-$500 million.
Qualcomm would be almost 100% certain to appeal such an award.. first in motions to the judge, then if that fails, which is more likely than not, in latter appeals to higher courts and ITC.
OK, so what does PV do with an award? The money is unlikely to be paid until appeals process is exhausted with the results of that being as wide as a total reversal to full payment. Let's forget that for now because it will likely take a long time.. up to a couple years or more.
PV can use an award to do a secondary in order to mount a licensing campaign. A difficulty with that is there are few potential infringing parties who are located inside the US. Qualcomm sells the majority of chips used in devices sold in North America. Other suppliers include Apple, Samsung because they use their own chips in many of their devices. That gets a bit complicated by the fact that the RF is often bought-in from other chip suppliers. PV would most likely first have to sue those other suppliers if they think they violate the patents similarly. So, for a while investors will have to wait for PV to lay out their plans post award and see how QCOM mounts the next stages of their defense.
What is reasonable and what the jury is more likely to award look to be different:
The jury came out in PV's favor on all counts - both for direct and indirect infringement and for all 6 of Qualcomm's parts that use direct conversion RF. If they move along unswayed in their convictions, the likely award will not be 'reasonable' by the conventional measures of what is paid for the RF section under either bought-in or licensed technology basis.
However, as those who have experience in the field or legal matters have come to know, this is only part of the overall legal battle. The first step beyond the jury's award is the judge's review. While he is bound to a degree, unless vacated, to the jury's decision, he may either award a higher degree of damages, as the oft discussed treble damages for willful infringement if found by the jury, to an adjustment down on grounds of legal procedure in figuring the degree of damages. Then the judge must at least give some consideration to likely motions from Qualcomm to have the jury verdict revered based on 'no reasonable jury' would have ignored the evidence and procedural issues in the case. That type of reversal is seldom granted and, if so, PV would certainly mount an appeal. Judges are very reluctant to overturn a jury verdict. However, they also do not want to have their cases overturned due to procedural or legal grounds and, thus, they often try to forge a balance in the rulings.
I see Qualcomm's 'plan B' having been to establish grounds for appeal on procedural and legal grounds. This case needs to wrap up fully before much is conjectured about 'plan B'.
Spectrum is worth what operators or speculators in spectrum think can be done with it to serve users. And that is significantly determined by what the alternative spectrum and use models are available at any given time using the technologies available at that time.
Thus, when there was no LTE available and much fewer alternative bands of large (10, 20+MHz) of spectrum available, the 2.6GHz band was thought to hold up to a $20 billion value. However, that was based on USING IT in a way that would have turned profitable starting about two years ago. Wah, wah... that didn't happen.
So, now, T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T and Sprint have 10X10MHz swatches of spectrum available to them at lower frequency bands... more than they need if they deploy small cells to amplify the capacity. That pushes 2.6GHz into the 'deploy in dense urban 'Hot Zones' as needed' rather than the prior 200 million POP coverage vision.
The longer-term grand vision for 2.6GHz is to use it similar to the way its used in denser, less flush with alternative spectrum settings such as Softbank does in Japan. The also has a much different deployment metric: denser population and much more densely deployed fiber optic. The difference between that and the typical US deployment location is still night and day. Over time the two ends of the equation will change: more and better ways to use backhaul microwave are evolving combined with more fiber optic... and demand will eventually make if feasible to deploy into 2.6GHz more broadly and densely.
Spectrum is worth what it can generate in sales and profits. Costs of deploying must be met.
Shows 222 LTE deployments
TD-LTE continues to gain momentum
1064 LTE devices announced. No new info on TD-LTE versions
Generally an upbeat report of growing momentum
Huawei, ZTE, HTC mobile phones available with new models
Huawei/HiSilicon TD-LTE multimode chipset said to be at high volume but not seen much outside of China
Mediatek is said to be closer to introducing TD-LTE multiple-mode phone chips featuring a new version of the ARM processor core and improved graphics chip. Not much more infor than previously. A company spokesman said they plan to give Qualcomm, the sole supplier, a run for the money and will be capable of addressing lower price points.
Softbanks' acquisition of majority share of Brightstar, a value added device supply-chain service. Softbank and Sprint will run their volume exclusively through them making Brightstar the world's largest single supply aggregator.
Softbank's stock price hit near all-time highs recently.
Sprint said to reach 190-200 mil pops LTE coverage
No. It was dropped for only about 18 months a few years back and then reinstated under amended rules and is in force now. Look it up.
Wrong .. short sale of stock is governed by the US SEC 'uptick rule': This requires short sale of stock to occur on the 'uptick', ie. as the stock is moving up. The rule was imposed for teh very reason you just stumbled into: to present program or otherwise short sale trading that forces a stock down or adds to its downward momentum. Short sales can still be made on a downward trend, however, stock brokers execution software is tested to assure that the rule is complied with. That makes short selling on the downward move happen when moment temporarily is to the upside.
Bill, why be on the high percentage losing side of options trades? Write covered calls when a stock pegs resistance, buy back if get called away... so far this year you would have been unlikely and could have kept $1-2 total of premiums on the three attempts. The 'House' always wins.. better than 80% of the time options expire worthless.
It says almost nothing: the case is being decided on charming the jury with a good story, not the facts in the case which should be centered around the patents and Qualcomm's circuit design imo.
Qualcomm entertained several approaches to RF design ... which has developed into a sub-system that works with the baseband radio and processing SoC. The jury somehow got confused: the circuit Q uses is a balanced mixer based on technology developed years before Parkervision's patents. Refinements have taken place tied to semiconductor processes. However, the details of the schematic and reference measurements at key points in the circuit make it clear that the RF is not operating as a energy transfer, D2D, circuit as Parkervison was able to somehow convince the jury. The core requirement of the trial in order for Qualcomm to be found, after appeals/judicial review process is completed, that Parkervision's patents were used. That simply was not proven. In fact, Qualcomm's evidence proved otherwise: the circuit is incapable of operating as embodied in the patent claims. Parkervision's own CTO and expert witness gave testimony that is counter to a proof of infringement. Yet the jury was, apparently, swayed by the overriding Parkervision storyline that the company had dislosed their technology only to have Qualcomm place such a low value on it that they had to walk away.. then to have QCOM use the technology, infringing PV's patents. The story sounds great, 'David vs. Goliath' is a nice tale. However, the facts do not add up ... so much so the case is unlikely to hold up on appeals or ITC hearings imo.
Right now, the jury is in tow of PV's lawyers and looks headed to hand them a big paper win. However, give this case another 1-2 years, maybe sooner, for the jury decisions to be reversed.
Parkervision may have gotten what the company needs: a new staunch of capital infusion to keep them afloat, insiders rolling in dough.
There is no payment to PV until a settlement is reached. A jury verdict and award (this current phase will determine that) are not a guarantee of payment to Parkervision. Qualcomm could come to a settlement agreement but have generally indicated they would appeal a verdict for infringement and the ensuing award. The award would be placed in escrow pending appeals and modification of the awarded amount.
"The payment is between 500 million to 2 Billion." - that statement shows a lack of understanding of the legal process and its not worth commenting further except to say you should study to know more of what is going on.
The primary focus of the testimony, evidence, and conduct of the court and parties during phase one has become how it might impact the appeals. That includes, in layman's terms, a) whether the judge adhered to his own rulings or otherwise allowed the case to get out of hand to give Qualcomm procedural grounds for appeal. b) If the grounds for a finding of infringement were met. If so, then how narrowly does it apply to Qualcomm's application and does that provide Q with a way to deliver/substantiate non-infringement of a product without use of PV's patents? c) If grounds for finding of infringement were not met, then what are the issues on appeal and chances for Q to gain a hearing and then go on to win on appeal? d) What is the basis for Qualcomm to challenge PV's patents with the US PTO? What would be the chances of invalidating PV's patent claims?
The jury caste their votes and determined Q was 'guilty' of infringement and will likely find for damages that are over $200 million given their disposition and judge Dalton's willingness to let in arguments that the court had earlier indicated would be prejudicial and too far removed for the current climate and situation of licensing. That likely shifts last week's proceedings to the next round, appeals and circumvention of infringement or the invalidation of the patents.
Sprint (S) is moving in a range since after the acquisition between ~6 to ~7. Recently the trend has been to the downside within that, unable to break towards the high end of the range. Price action remains unresolved, waiting for a sales/subscriber trend, lower costs/higher margins, or some other catalyst to cause a break to the upside ... or the downside. Baring out-of-expectation news to the upside or downside, S looks to settle within the 6-7 swing, probably to the low side through the end of this year imo.
While the price movement appears range-bound, traders have been able to take advantage of price swings, high premiums on sale of covered calls to lock in substantial returns. Probable less volatility makes similar returns over the next 2-4 months less likely, however, the same strategy holds.. buy near 6, sell or sell calls at resistance, which looks closer to 6.60 than 7.
Longer term, Sofbank-Sprint have just begun to chart a new course for the company. "Moving on up" to achieve near the margins and profits of the two leaders is a feasible goal... even within a more saturated and price competitive market but it will take 2-3 years imo.
That may be all the jury understands but its not altogether making sense: Qualcomm competes with foreign and domestic companies in the field. An advantage you/PV says is due to their technology should have been desired by the other companies or is there a wall that goes up when one company starts to use a technology? If so, you may be able to get a patent on the 'trublvrprkr technology adoption wall' because its something new and unique.
"Then Kevin Rivette can go after all the dozens of other companies that have Qualcomm chips in them that infringe" PV can 'go after' trade sanctions through the ITC that blocks import/sale of infringing devices. However, that usually works out to be an enforcement tactic for the ruling of infringement that is mitigated through the appeals process. There is very unlikely to be additional revenues because the chips wash the products of liability based on settlement of the damage award.
The monies to cover the award would be put in escrow by Qualcomm pending the appeals and possible workarounds.
Qualcomm is always worried... this is hardly a life or death situation for Q. The company was faced with the shift from DCMA to OFDMA as the new LTE standard was developed and started gaining momentum. That has been a monumental shift in technology to which Q has adjusted better than I had imaged years ago. And Q faces challenges from new Asian based competitors. Mediatek, for example, has seen growth in marketshare that in terms of unit numbers has placed them at near the same level as Qualcomm. However, in terms of sales dollars and leadership with the major brand names, Q leads in marketshare by a wide margin. Still, since the largest growth markets are China, India and other APAC countries, the rise of the Taiwanese and China mainland suppliers threatens Qualcomm's business. The Parkervision win has Q 'worried' to the degree it impacts their financials. Threat of trade injunctions is manageable and has its tic-toc time span.
The lawsuit defines the chips found to infringe. Determining the devices that use them can be gotten from Qualcomm or directly... its also often reported publicly and in research reports by companies that do device tear-downs and report on component sales trends, etc. That information usually gets worked out either as part of the discovery process or as the court subsequently orders it or as part of a settlement between the companies. Since the chips are the the newer 3G-4G multiple mode, the reach of the products could extend into new versions yet to come out. However, that is speculating ahead of the game... look for the judgement to come down as that may detail at least the gross numbers and royalty rates (or they might be dug out of the numbers). Often the royalty rate is kept confidential/proprietary and only the gross numbers and what it applies to is disclosed. Then analysts back out the royalty rate based on the projections of sales of the chips and ARPUs. The royalty rate on RF usually works out to be low.. If I mention what comparables here it likely would get denounced.
Look up recent lawsuits and ICT trade sanction activity for some ideas about how this might work out. There are recent examples involving Qualcomm, Samsung, HTC, Nokia, Apple, MOTO/Google and others that are similar enough to provide meaningful guidance.
Trade sanctions can be sought through the US ITC, US International Trade Commission, based on the finding of indirect infringement of patent claims. However, what often occurs in cases where there is an alternative technology, circuit, software etc, is for the infringer to re-design the product,r load non-infringing software/algorithms or otherwise do a work-around of the infringing technology. Or they may head down the path of a work-around to use as leverage in negotiations to license at a lower rate than was awarded. The ruling will have two parts, 1) for infringement of products already shipped, 2) for projected shipments of the same products. Obviously, if the products no longer contain the infringing technology, they no longer are subject to paying patent royalties.
Its often incumbent on companies to work out deals that include work on future products or enhancements... so long as they can come to terms on a royalty rate. What appears to have derailed the 1999+ early negotiations was when Qualcomm provided Parkervision with the terms under which they might move forward to build PV's tech into their products. If PV and Q come to terms it would likely be some form of compromise between the lofty amounts PV has historically sought and what Q, VIA and others typically pay under less forced conditions. PV has the power of a court ruling in their arsenal. Qualcomm has never admitted that they infringe and may continue to hold that to be the case and refuse to settle until and if their appeals and work-around options are exhausted. Compromise settlement is so far speculative.
It won't impact QCOM's bottom line much and probably not for up to a few years. The immediate impact is it will require a capital set-aside to establish an escrow account that will sit there until a final settlement is reached. That is money Qualcomm has but that they might otherwise use more productively. The amount the company makes provisions for would be the full amount of the award, not being discounted for what might come of appeals or work-around of the patents that would impact future royalties that are part of the award. So, the full award becomes tied up until final settlement with PRKR is reached either through mutual agreement or through the final appeals in the courts or ITC rulings having been exhausted.
The figure JP Morgan's analyst placed on this is the gross potential for the initial award and does not reflect similar history of infringement lawsuits brought against Qualcomm or elsewhere. If the judge agrees on the punitive willful infringement damages, then the amount suggested could be awarded. However, this has to be determined on appeals and the possible reduction in liabilities due to use of an alternative or otherwise what is shown to be a non-infringing RF operating circuit.
"Ride 'er up, settle 'er down"
I might add: its often assumed that once a case is won in the USA its able to be enforced in other countries. Qualcomm has its own history of enforcing its core CDMA/WCDMA patents in the major markets of Asia and Europe that took several years. Q's core patents apply so broadly and for which there are no alternatives.. its incorporated into 3GPP GSM 3G/3G+ IMT-2000 standards across the board. The court proceedings show CTO and expert testimony of Parkervision that alternatives exist. Qualcomm and their expert witnesses claim as good or better alternatives exist. Regardless of how good or not the alternatives may be, they offer a way out for Qualcomm and others that suppliers of networks and devices do not have to get around Qualcomm's larger portfolio of patent coverage.
Patents are valued generally on A. How useful they are to markets. B. How unavoidable they are to common use such as standards or core technology that must be used... for which there are no comparable work-arounds. Much has been made of the email statement that "it looks like Parker has one part of the 'Holy Grail'" (but usually leaving out the 'one part'). Saying something is the Holy Grail or a piece of the Holy Grail means that is must be unreplaceable. Qualcomm asserted they were not infringing but the jury found in Parkervisions favor that they were... the filled in court papers on PV's web site show that. That piece of paper works until Q can come back and show it (no longer) uses the circuit or the way it operates does not infringe.
What about time? Time tends to reveal new approaches or fully vet existing ones. The progress seen in RF in recent years has been substantial. If you start reading about what continues to unfold you will find new methods of laying down devices on silicon, silicon on isolation substrates, trench devices, etc. that then make it possible to achieve new circuits, lower noise, etc. are very actively being pursued.