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Albert Podell
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Graduate of Cornell University, 1958. Graduate Fellow, Univ of Chicago 1958-60. Received Doctor of Laws degree from New York University School of Law, 1976. Have practiced litigation from 1976 until retirement in 2010. Have been an active stock investor since 1964,and active theatrical investor... More
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  • Dispatch From .U. Mass Symposium: UNXL Looks Green To Go

    Dateline: May 16, 2013 University of Massachusetts, Amherst National Materials Research Science & Engineering Center on Polymers Symposium:"Materials and Processes for Flexible Devices & Electronics"

    On Lunch break. The Symposium is being attended by the top 150 scientists on the world conducting research in the field, including scores of university professors and IBM Research, GE Global Research, the U.S. military, Kodak, Madico, Micro Chem, FRX Polymers, Pnasonic Boston Labs, E Ink, Henkel, Pix Elligent, and Argotec.

    Most of what they are discussing will not be commercialized for five years or so, and much of it is far over the head of your correspondent, who abandoned his serious scientific pursuits after studying two years of chemical engineering and organic chemistry at Cornell, so please do not expect any detailed discussion here of scalable atomic-level deposition or the use of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or use as organic interfaces in constructing wire conductors on polymer substrates. (For that, wait a month or so for the publication of the Kodak presentation in the Applied Physics Letters, and others elsewhere in scientific journals, although I may attempt as larger SA article if I find the courage),

    What I can tell those of you interested in UNXL and its competitors and the touch-screen industry in general, and with a high degree of certainty, is the following:

    • All the panelists whose presentations I attended agreed that ITO is obsolescent; most of them spoke about it like a cantankerous old friend who was on her deathbed.
    • Metal conductors are far superiors for cost, conductivity, ease of workability, scalability, and a host of other benefits. Best are silver, copper, aluminum, and zinc oxide.
    • Continuous, high-sped, roll-to-roll printing of electronics on flexible substrates is the best commercial process for easy, inexpensive, high-quality, low-cost production.
    • Run rates exceeding ten meters a minute were easily obtainale in some labs with less than 1% defects, although printingg conditions must be carefully controlled with regard to cleanliness, temperature, and keeping the deposition flat and even.
    • The UNXL production partner, Kodak, is held in high regard by the entire industry and is looked upon with awe by many as the world leader in the printing of materials on flexible substrates

    In short, UNXL seems to be doing everything correctly and its processes are the state of the art:

    In private discussions with Kodak researchers, I was told that they see no benefits whatever for touch screen makers to reduce the size of their lines from the 5-6 microns that UJNXL is using to the nanotech level, upon which the conference focused. Thus, the UNXL technology should be able to prevail and endure into the far future.

    I was also assured by the Kodak researchers that if the partnership with UNXL is a scam, as the shorts have alleged, then this is all news to them. They told me that the building in Eastman Industrial Park is being prepared for the Pixie, that they anticipate the plating and printing lines to be up and running by late September-October, and that Kodak is heavily counting on its partnership with UNXL to help it come roaring out of bankruptcy and resume its former position as one of the world's leading manufacturers of film product.

    In sum and substance, UNXL looks green to go. And I gotta go back to the conference.

    Disclosure: I am long UNXL.

    Tags: UNXL
    May 16 1:20 PM | Link | 11 Comments
  • An Open Letter To Barron's: Do The Right Thing

    DATE: May 14,2013

    TO: Barron's Editors Edwin A. Finn, Jr., Fleming Meeks, Phil Rooosevelt, Lauren Rublin, David Schutt, Beverly Goodman

    Gentlemen, and Ms. Rublin and Goodman M

    You may have a serious problem: I believe that one of your young staff writers may have been either paid off, or corrupted, or seduced, or somehow misled into writing a totally inaccurate, badly slanted, ineptly researched, and grossly misleading hatchet job on a little company called Uni-Pixel ("Out of Touch, May 13, 2013) in which I am a large shareholder and options holder.

    Who would arrange this, you ask, and why? The answer: The shorts, who bet wrong against UNXL and are now $70,000,000 underwater and facing a gigantic squeeze because they are short almost the entire float of he stock, including approximately one million naked shares. They desperately needed some horrific event to try to break the back of this fledgling company, which the respondents to your own Big Money Poll two weeks ago picked as one of their nine favorite stocks for 2013.

    All the relevant information is in the documents contained herein, which I published Sunday on my Seeking Alpha Instablog. (I have also previously written two very favorable articles on Seeking Alpha about Uni-Pixel, plus two other Instablogs, and am a former magazine editor and a litigation attorney for 32 years until I retired in 2010.) I further refer you to additional evidence and astute analysis of the offending article contained in a Seeking Alpha Instablog published yesterday by Chris Hoffman, titled "My Email to Barron's Regarding Uni-Pixel," and to the outpouring of other mail you have received yesterday and today, which your online video commentator dismissively dubbed "hate mail."

    As a long and devoted reader of Barron's. on which I have frequently relied for quality investing information, I am shocked and dismayed by what appear to be many breaches of journalistic ethics and sound reporting practice in this article, all set forth in detail in the enclosed documents.

    I call upon you to immediately investigate this situation. You need to know: What assignment was the staff writer given? By whom? Whose idea was it originally? Was he instructed to write a negative article? Does he have any friends or lovers who are short UNXL? How was it that no editor realized how one-sided and incorrect his diatribe was? Did anybody get paid by the desperate shorts to have this appalling article published? How did something so far beneath the high standards of Barron's get published? You should also seek the advice of legal counsel regarding the consequences of retaining in your employ anyone whom you determine has committed actionable wrong herein, either negligently or intentionally.

    I further write to inform you that I am in the process of assembling a team of top torts professors and a class-action law firm to determine whether a legal action, on behalf of all those who owned stock in UNXL as of 8:00 AM EST Monday, will be cognizable against your parent company for the $20,000,000 in early-morning loses sustained yesterday as a result of this recklessly negligent article, which was quite possibly motivated by legally actionable malice. The opening drop in the price may have caused many who owned UNXL shares on margin to be sold out as the consequence of a margin call, and to lose the prospect of their gains once the stock resumed its normal upward climb, which had already taken it from 5 to 35 in six months, and which many of us have good reason to believe will take it well into the triple digits and beyond in the next few years. Further, dozens of inexperienced investors who owned the stock were likely, as someone at Barron's may have intended, to be panicked by your article to sell at any price at the opening, thus incurring actual losses and the deprivation of potential gains.

    If you wish to mitigate some of the damage and distress this inexplicable behavior has caused, and demonstrate to your readers and subscribers, and the innocent shareholders of Uni-Pixel, a sense of fairness and sound journalistic ethics, I respectfully submit that you publish, in your next issue, this letter, and that of Mr. Hoffman, and a fair cross-section of the many others that you have received on this matter. I further respectfully suggest that you promptly interview the President and CEO of Uni-Pixel, Reed Killion, on tape, about Uni-Pixel and its products and prospects, and print his responses without slanted editing in your next issue.

    I look forward to the favor of a prompt and positive reply and to the result of your investigation, as do, I am sure, thousands of loyal Barron's readers who depend on your otherwise excellent publication for fair, honest, comprehensive, and unbiased financial guidance..

    Sincerely,

    Albert Podell

    Disclosure: I am long UNXL.

    May 14 4:45 AM | Link | 6 Comments
  • Barron's UNXL Diatribe Exposed: CEO Letters Prove Hatchet Job

    I am shocked and disgusted by what I have just learned about the lack of journalistic ethics, or even common human decency, on the part of Avi Salzman, the biased new staffer at Barron's whom the shorts seem to have somehow persuaded to do their dirty work by writing the totally one-sided, negative article filled with falsehoods and snarky innuendo about Uni-Pixel. The man is a disgrace to the profession, and if he wants to sue me for saying that, then bring it on, boy, because the truth is a complete defense.

    What I have just learned is that Mr. Salzman was given carte balance at Uni-PIxel, including a full 90-minute interview with its CEO and President, Reed Killion. This is something Mr. Salzman conveniently fails to mention in the article. Just as he fails to mention any of the dozens of positive things Mr. Killion told him, and proved to him, about UNXL. Instead, Mr. Salzman quotes Mr. Killion only twice, and uses material that could have been from an of Killion's speeches of conference calls. I mean, come on, sports fans, what kind of journalist is given a long, open, on-the-record interview with the President and CEO of a company and fails to mention it?

    Why does Salzman fail to mention that he was given complete access to the Uni-Pixel facilities. and the long interview with Mr. Killion, and detail information from its chief technical officer? Because that admission would totally destroy the biased thesis with which he embarked on this project. As a former journalist, I find this behavior sickening, even for an inexperienced kid who was only an intern a year ago.

    I obtained all this information from Mr. Killion, in two private letters he sent to me as a shareholder, early this morning, after I had sent him a 4:00am email expressing my outrage at the distorted, disdainful, dismissive, despicable Barron's article.

    Mr. Killion has asked me NOT to share the contents of his letters because he believes that would violate his strict policy of not commenting on negative news and letting the performance if the Pixie speak for itself. Sorry, Reed, but I am going to ignore your request, and I hope this does not ruin our nascent relationship, but I cannot sit idly by and let hundreds of innocent investors. many of whom have put their life savings into the Pixie because of its brilliant technology, and were hoping to ride tihis rocket into a comfortable retirement. be unfairly panicked to sell at the opening tomorrow because they misguidedly believe the Barron's piece speaks the truth. Your letters, which I append below unedited, speak the truth, and the world needs to know the truth.

    In closing, I call upon the editors of Barron's, which I read regularly, and for which I have previously had the highest respect, to immediately investigate this situation. What assignment was Mr. Salzman given? Whose idea was it? Was he instructed to write a negative article? Doe she have any friends who are short UNXL? How come no editor realized how one-sided his diatribe was? Did anybody get paid by the desperate shorts, who are now more than one hundred million dollars underwater, to write this awful article?

    Killion's letters are below, as is an email from UNXL chief technical officer. What do you think?

    Good Morning Al, [Dated; May 12, 2013]

    Thank you for the continued support and interest in UniPixel. Ah yes, Avi spent about an hour and a half on the phone with us. He asked for the time to support the Barron's top 10 stocks since Apple, NOV, and the rest were well known he wanted more information on UniPixel. He then went through the old and worn out short manifesto, which we answered and completely destroyed . We then invited him to come down to see the manufacturing facility and meet the UniPixel team. We even offered a video tour of the plating facility.

    I gave him a background on TMOS and the display industry. OLED, LCD, Plasma and that history has shown it takes 15 years and Billions in infrastructure and Billions in development dollars to get to production.

    I explained to him that we never gave any guidance or told anyone we would be producing TMOS displays, that our model was a licensing model and that the companies we aligned with did not deliver functional back planes. We did build full motion video prototypes and those prototypes were much better than the first OLED, Plasma and LCD prototypes. One of our engineers figured out how to burn out the shorts and hiluxes in the back planes we received from Philips to build the prototypes. I explained to him that we decided to sell TMOS in 2010 after 5 years of actual development because we estimated it would cost about $200 million to get TMOS production ready. The Performance Engineered Film platform we built was our focus since our model was always going to be to license the display technology and sell the major sub component of the display (optical active layer film) to the licensees.

    I went into a little more detail.

    I then took the blame for our failure to successfully launch FPR film. I told him we never gave financial guidance, but since the analyst had projected revenue on film that in a qrtly conf call in June/July of 2011 I took the spear and said our revenue would be 0 and that we were focusing all of our efforts on UniBoss. I went into more detail on this as well.

    We walked through the additive vs subtractive mftg process UniBoss has over the ITO and other ITO alternatives. We covered the competing technologies in detail, we walked him through material costs, we walked him through scale.

    Dr. Bob was kind enough to give him a list of his personal successes and the patents associated with those successes. He mentioned none of it. Some of those successes were quite impressive. In Short Avi, was used by the Shorts. I am less than impressed with the Short attacks, half truths and out right lies.

    I enjoyed your rebuttal and your support of UniPixel. This kid got it wrong on so many different fronts. I look forward to catching up with you soon and meeting you.

    Kind Regards,

    Reed

    Hello Again Al,

    To add to the email I just sent on my Iphone this is an FYI:

    I went into great detail as to the history of UniPixel. I explained that UniPixel had been a development stage company for 10 years and that display technologies as a rule take 15 years to get to production with large Billion dollar infrastructures and Billions in development dollars to get them to market see (LCD, Plasma and OLED) We had actually taken TMOS further and faster to our first full motion video and on less money than all mainstream display technologies before us. I explained to him the decision we had to make, since we did not receive any functional back planes from the companies we were working with and we thought it would take about $200Million more in development funds combined with a major players infrastructure to see production we decided to sell the TMOS and focus on the Performance Engineered Film technology.

    I was very open with this kid about the fact we had never given any guidance due to the fact we were a development stage company and that in June of 2011 I reset the analysts expectations to 0 revenue when they believed we would be launching the FPR fILM. I took the blame for the stumble on FPR and decided the retail protective cover films market would take away from our finances and focus on bringing up UniBoss. The market had turned with all the low cost solutions that were hitting the market and we did not have the finances to execute a retail sales and marketing strategy around retail protective cover films. We developed Diamond Guard to support UniBoss and believe UniBoss will drive Diamond Guard adoption.

    To attack Bernie Marren is an absolute joke. All you need to know is a little about Silicon Valley History to know that he has done more with his life than most could do with 100 lifetimes. One of the original execs at Fairchild, CEO of AMI (Sold for Billions) CEO Western Micro (sold for a Billion) etc………. The man is the real deal, he is 78 years old and is winding down Opti. He sits on boards because he wants to, not because he has to.

    This kid is a friend of some shorts and basically had the short manifesto against UniPixel torn apart during the 1 hour and 30 minute interview, but yet he went through with the article anyway.

    I have never said anything to anybody other than we have a deal with a PC Manufacturer. He is lying about the analyst or the analyst is lying to him that said I said anything else but PC manufacturer. We walked him through the additive vs subtractive process, the roll to roll and the 0 waste of materials. I invited this kid down to see the manufacturing lines and to meet the executives as well as staff. A real due diligence effort would have at least have him take us up on setting up a video tour of the plating line.

    We talked about the value Kodak brings to the table on vertical integration and scale. I could go on, but he took a few shots at Bob and Bob was nice enough to send him the following. As you can see the Barrons article was nothing but a worn out hit piece.

    My reference regarding the question of our old CSO was that his assumptions maybe off, but his math was always dead on, meaning he had his own beliefs that were certainly not main stream, but he was brilliant. The gentlemen was a Calvinist and as honest as the day is long. He could play every instrument in the symphony at expert level save the woodwinds. His IQ was off the charts.

    Keep this between us, because I have a policy of not responding to negative attacks or positive articles. I believe we let our actions and results speak for themselves quarterly. If you want to use anything please give me a shout or drop me an email.

    Kind Regards,

    Reed

    From: Robert Petcavich <rpetcavich@unipixel.com>
    Date: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 7:35 AM
    To: "avi.salzman@barrons.com" <avi.salzman@barrons.com>
    Cc: Reed Killion <rkillion@unipixel.com>, Ronald Both <ron@liolios.com>
    Subject: Unipixel Follow Up

    Avi,

    Thanks for taking time to discuss the Unipixel story with Reed and I yesterday. We hope we were able to give you a comprehensive overview and insights into our business model.

    You mentioned you would like to have a few examples of patents or IP from my past as a reference point for potential future success. Below are a few examples that you may find of interest.

    Patent 4,456,638 - Polymer Packaging Material for Liquid Crystal Displays- This was the world's first all plastic LCD and led to formation of a company called Polytronix Inc to develop and commercialize the technology. Polytronix was eventually acquired by JDSU Uniphase and is still in operation today .polytronix.com.

    Patent 4,424,900- Anti-Static Packages and Packaging Material- Created the first transparent metal shielding bag for sensitive microelectronic devices. 3M acquired the patent from me in a private transaction in 1989 and was a multi million dollar revenue generator for them for many years. Www.3M.com

    Patent 4,666,263- Radiant Energy Reflector and Method of Construction Thereof- This was a silver based super reflector that allowed a 50% reduction in lighting energy costs in commercial buildings. This became a multimillion dollar product line and my company, Deposition Technologies Inc, was acquired by Material Sciences Corporation in 1986 for $25,000,000. (It was a Wall Street news article on Nov 6, 1985) The product became known as Specular+ and sold to large lighting companies like Lithonia etc. matsci.com

    Patent 4,876,426- Tray or Pan for Baking Batter Based Food Products in Microwave Ovens- Leveraging expertise from the design of stealth airplane coatings, I figured out how to apply it to microwave foods. Licensed the technology exclusively to General Mills Inc and it became a multi million dollar consumer cake product line.

    Patent 8,433,370- Automated interpretation of clinical encounters with cultural cues- This patent was issued to Dan Heinze, whom I hired in 1996 to develop and commercialize a process for automated medical billing, to eliminate fraud and up-charging in the medical field. The company we formed was called A-life Medical Inc based on a business process model and plan developed by me, as a result of being involved in a related business. I was founder, chairman and CEO, and the company was sold in 2010 to Ingenix, part of United Healthcare, for $85,000,000 cash. Www.alifemedical.com

    As mentioned in our call yesterday not all ideas that may be a technical success become a commercial success for all kinds of reasons such as bad market timing, lack of proper capitalization, poor management, and price performance competition. However, based on my past experiences, Unipixel is in the right place at the right time with great technology, and is well capitalized. It is all about execution now.

    Please feel free to call or email if you have any additional questions.

    Robert Petcavich, PhD

    CTO, Sr VP & GM

    Disclosure: I am long UNXL.

    May 12 12:56 PM | Link | 41 Comments
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