Technology

 

Patents and Patent Applications Pending - A More Recent Look

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Patents and Patent Applications Pending – A more Recent Look

 

March 15, 2004
From the company’s 2003 10K statement (page 9):
“In the wireless division, the Company has obtained 29 patents related to its D2D technology and has over 90 patent applications pending in the United States and other countries. In the video division, the Company has obtained 25 patents related to its camera tracking technology and automated production systems and has 27 additional applications pending.”

 

August, 2004
In product descriptions posted on CompUSA for its wireless PC LAN card, ParkerVision states that it has “over 130 patents awarded and pending” on D2D technology.

 

March 16, 2005
From the company’s 2004 10K statement (page 8):
The Company has obtained 59 patents related to its D2D technology and has over 90 patent applications pending in the United States and other countries.  The Company estimates the economic life of its patents to be fifteen to twenty years.”

 

Observations
We updated our investigation of ParkerVision’s claims about the total number of patents and pending applications from its recent statements. We note that because these statements are recent, we cannot fully verify them. Our information will not include patent applications that were filed within the last 18 months, namely after September 1, 2003. Patents, however, are typically published about 3 months after they issue, so we will have more up-to-date information there. In any case, we can calculate the difference between our search results in public records and the ParkerVision claims for D2D technology.

 

We again define “portfolio” as all issued, independent patents and patent applications (i.e., we did not count different codes for the same application number as separate patent applications as they are only different versions of the same application). Detailed holdings based on searches at the US Patent & Trademark Office website (www.uspto.gov) and the WIPO website (www.wipo.int) are given in Appendix 1. We summarize the following statistics for ParkerVision assigned intellectual property holdings at the time of the 10K release. Note that all patents and applications are sorted by filing date, rather than by issue date or publication date.

 

D2D
Year

Total (Cum)

Total Filed

US Patents

US Pat Apps

Intnl Patents

Intnl Pat Apps

≤1998

4

4

4

0

0

0

1999

21

17

10

0

4

3

2000

36

15

7

0

2

6

2001

43

7

1

1

0

5

2002

58

15

1

13

0

1

2003

62

4

0

3

0

1

2004

66

4

0

3

0

1

Total

66

66

23

20

6

17


Video
Year

Total (Cum)

Total Filed

US Patents

US Pat Apps

Intnl Patents

Intnl Pat Apps

2003

33

4

18

5

3

7

 

  • In its 2003 10K report, ParkerVision claims that it has 25 issued patents and 27 pending applications in its camera/automated production technology. We were able to count 21 issued patents and 8 patent applications. We note that the discrepancy in issued patents is small, while there is a discrepancy of 15 applications (which could have been unpublished prior to November 29, 2000).
  • In its 2003 10K report, ParkerVision claims that is has 29 issued patents and 90 patent applications in D2D technology. We note that the error in patent applications with our analysis should be small, given that there is only a three month window within which applications would have been published for our analysis and actual filings made. We counted 29 issued patents, in exact agreement with the 10K statement. However, we counted only 33 patent applications filed worldwide. This is a discrepancy of 57 patent applications, or a factor of two in the number of applications filed.
  • In its 2004 10K report, ParkerVision claims that it has 59 issued patents and 90 pending applications worldwide for a total portfolio size of 149 items. The difference between the claimed portfolio size and what our search reported is greater than a factor of 2, or 83 items. A factor of 2 is a sizeable discrepancy.
  • On closer inspection, ParkerVision has 23 + 6 = 29 published patents worldwide on D2D technology, which is the same number as in 2003. ParkerVision claimed 59 issued patents in its 10K report, which is twice the number of patents that we were able to find, or a discrepancy of 30 patents. Given only a three month lag in publication of issued patents, we do not understand how ParkerVision can substantiate these claims, or else 30 patents would have had to issue in December 2004!
  • Similarly for patent applications, ParkerVision claims 90 pending applications worldwide. Interestingly enough, this is the same number of patent applications claimed in 2003. However, we only found 20 + 17 = 37 published applications, i.e., a discrepancy of 53 applications. Given that our search data is accurate up to Sept 1, 2003, this means that ParkerVision filed 53 patent applications worldwide in the last 18 months, at a rate of about 35 patents/year. Given the maximum annual number of applications ever filed was 17 (in 1999) at the inception of D2D technology, we are greatly puzzled by this discrepancy.
  • We also note the discrepancy between the SignalMax product marketing description, which states 130 patents awarded and pending, and the current 10K report, which states a total of 149 patents awarded and pending.

 

The only way in which we can rationalize this discrepancy is that ParkerVision double counts international applications based on title changes or corrections. In WIPO notation, the initial submission is designated as A1. If changes are made, the application’s number is modified to A2 or A3. If the European community is designated, another number having an EP rather than WO prefix is generated for the same patent application. If the title is changed, or the patent application is translated into a different language, different suffixes are attached to the application number, such as C2 or T2. Thus, the same patent application can appear to have two to six different suffixes for the same number. Clearly, this approach can lead to a misinterpretation of the size and value of a company’s portfolio. 

 

If we take this inflated approach, then ParkerVision would have counted 138 patents and patent applications at the end of 2003 in both video and D2D. However, ParkerVision claimed a total of 171 patents and applications in its 2003 10K report, so even with the double counting, we were unable to match the claimed portfolio size. Similarly, in 2004, ParkerVision had 138 published patents and applications that we counted. Of these, 44 related to the video business which was sold. Therefore, we counted a total of 94 patents and applications in D2D technology with the inflated approach. We note that again, our results are far from the D2D portfolio claiming 149 items in the 2004 10K report.

 

Given that ParkerVision assigns a high value to its D2D patent portfolio, namely over $8 million dollars of net value, we find it disturbing that we cannot reconcile the claims in the 10K reports with publically available information. Further, we find it strange that ParkerVision only assigned a value of $1.5M to its video technology patent portfolio (prior to amortization), given that in 2004, it accounted for 35% of its total portfolio and that the division was generating substantially more revenue than the wireless division.