The potential risk to Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) in it's litigation with ParkerVision (NASDAQ:PRKR) has increased dramatically as a result of two recent decisions in similar hi tech patent cases. The first by the U.S. federal appeals court in the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) vs. Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF) case, the second is the decision in a case brought by Vringo, in India, dealing with the banning of products by an infringing Indian company. Both cases cast a dark shadow of potential devastating damages to Qualcomm's business in the event it appeals the verdict in the ParkerVision vs. Qualcomm case which it has publicly stated it intends to do.
In the first case the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled unanimously that U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh made errors last year when she denied Apple's request for a court injunction banning further production of 26 Samsung products. The appeals court said that Judge Lucy Koh should again consider whether Apple deserves a sales ban on Samsung's infringement of three patents related to touch screen features of the IPhone and Ipad and that the judge did not spend enough time considering the evidence offered by Apple in support arguments it is being irreparably harmed by Samsung's patent infringement.
Samsung had argued monetary compensation to Apple would be an adequate remedy for any infringement and said a product injunction was not warranted. Apple has alleged Samsung deliberately copied the company's "revolutionary" iPhone that took it several years and billions of dollars to develop. Apple claims that the case was a classic example in which a rival should be banned from selling products because of patent infringements. The appeals court said that U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh should again consider whether Apple deserves a sales ban based on Samsung"s infringement.
The second case was brought by Vringo (VRNG) on November 7, 2013 against ZTE an Indian company for infringement of Vringo's patent (3.14). The High Court of Delhi granted an injunction against ZTE Telecom India Private Limited, ZTE Corporation and Xu Dejun, Chief Executive Officer of ZTE Telecom India Private Limited for infringement of India Patent No. 243,980, which is owned by Vringo's wholly owned subsidiary, Vringo Infrastructure Inc. Vringo filed suit in the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi on November 7,2013 and a decision rendered on November 22, 2013. The '980 Patent is a standard essential patent for CDMA2000 technology, including mobile handsets, dongles, tablets and infrastructure equipment. It should be noted that the case was decided by the High Court in two weeks not years, as some Parker detractors have claimed it will take, to get decisions against infringers in foreign jurisdictions.
In short the belief by many that injunctions banning the production of infringed products never happens because it has generally assumed that money damages can cure the impact of any damage to the plaintiff is being challenged more and more in hi - tech cases where billions have been poured into development and marketing of the infringed product. The second misconception by Parker bashers is that it's very difficult to get judgments and injunctions against foreign companies. The recent Vringo decision cited above dispels that myth. While the court may not ultimately issue an injunction in the U.S. case, sending it back to the lower court for reconsideration of an injunction banning production it signals a change in thinking by the federal courts in patent infringement cases. The India case speaks for itself.
If any case cries out for an injunction banning production it is the ParkerVision vs. Qualcomm case. Qualcomm didn't just steal Parker's patents, they stole Parker's chance to build a business from it's own proprietary technology. If that's not irreparable damage then nothing is. Foreign companies that followed on can expect Parker to sue them in every country where there has been infringement. There is no way to know what Judge Roy Dalton, the judge in the ParkerVision v Qualcomm case will do but he now has recent precedent to rely on to issue a ban on production of products by Qualcomm found by the jury to be infringing on Parker's technology.. If he decides to issue such an injunction and considering the recent decision in India - watch out below, Qualcomm - a big percentage of its domestic and overseas business could be snuffed out in a heartbeat, and the resulting void in production can only be filled by ParkerVision and companies that license Parker's technology.
Disclosure: I am long PRKR. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.