ParkerVision HighlightsRelated Terms:
[2013.07.06] I've posted a short document (word)about the history of D2D. Using ParkerVision's documents and press releases (from 1999 and later), it is clear that D2D used a strictly sub-harmonic mixer clock, and that the discussions with Qualcomm in 1999 were about exactly such a design. Given that Qualcomm does not use such a design, it becomes obvious that Qualcomm did not "steal" anything from ParkerVision; and that ParkerVision is trying to claim ownership of technology that it did not invent.
[2013.04.29] I've posted a paper describing how Tayloe (US Patent 6,230,000) invalidates most of the ParkerVision claims-in-suit. I welcome feedback & will add additional claims analysis on request.
[2013.04.12] I've written an article for Seeking Alpha. I welcome feedback.
Last night, Qualcomm submitted a PACER document "Defendant Qualcomm’s Answer to ParkerVision’s Third Amended Complaint and Qualcomm’s Counterclaim and Demand for Jury Trial" It is a good read, and contains a partial list of the prior art that Qualcomm intends to use to invalidate the ParkerVision asserted claims-in-suit. It contains a fair bit of overlap with my list of prior art, but as I predicted Qualcomm found a lot that I missed. I highly recommend taking a look at some of the Qualcomm references.
[2013.03.3] Link to Thomas Lee, "The Design of Cmos Radio-Frequency Integrated Circuits". It's a poor scanned copy, but readable. The most interesting pages are pp331-335 and pp562-566. I'll working getting a better copy.
This is excellent prior art reference for nearly all of the claims-ins-suit. More later.
[2013.02.20] A Note on Infringment & Prior Art
The Markman ruling came out on Feb 20, 2012. Qualcomm won a few key terms, but ParkerVision got much of what it wanted. I think the judge made some serious errors, but for now, we have to go with his definitions.
With the terms defined both sides now can proceed with filings on invalidity.
The Markman makes infringement contentions easier for ParkerVision, but makes proving invalidity far easier for Qualcomm. I will not attempt to do Qualcomm’s work for them – I’m sure they know how to proceed.
What I can do is show that because of a fundamental principle of patent law, ParkerVision's patent claims against Qualcomm can easily be show to be meritless – regardless of the Markman.
ParkerVision is asserting claims against (among other chips) the QSC6270 chip, which was described in ISSCC 2011 paper 21.3 “A 65nm CMOS SoC with Embedded HSDPA/EDGE Transceiver, Digital Baseband and Multimedia Processor”. Fig 21.3.3 has a detailed receiver block diagram, which uses a 25% duty cycle quadrature passive mixer.
ParkerVision apparently feels it invented the concept of passive mixers when used in direct conversion receivers (i.e. a passive mixer that is used to convert directly to baseband.). As far as I can tell, ParkerVision never used the words “passive mixer” in their patent filings, instead using variants of “transferring substantial energy from the input to output” – a term used by no one else in the RF technical literature either before or after the ParkerVision patent filings.
There is a huge amount of prior art on passive mixers, as they have been around for a very long time. I will assume that Qualcomm will do a good job of bringing forward the relevant prior art concerning the various ParkerVision patent claims. What is clear is that a passive mixer very clearly “transfers substantial energy” and meets all of the relevant definitions of the recent Markman ruling.
I would like to write a short note to prove something fairly simple, i.e., that the Qualcomm chip in-suit implements a mixer that is identical to circuits described in the technical literature well before the ParkerVision patents were filed. This will prove something much simpler in concept for the reader (as well as a judge or jury) to understand, i.e. that the ParkerVision patents can’t possibly be both valid and infringed by the Qualcomm chips, as they implement circuits and concepts that preexisted the ParkerVision patents. This is a fundamental concept of patent law – if you can show that you implemented an identical design or concept that predated the asserted patents, then your design can’t possibly be infringing. To be clear, it might be because the patent claims are invalid or because the patent claims do not read on the design, but one or the other must be true, both logically and by law.
First, I will give two references which precisely describe the circuit used by Qualcomm in the QSC6270, both using a passive mixer with 25% duty cycle. The first is US patent 6,230,000 (Tayloe), which was filed on Oct 15, 1998 (i.e., a month before any of ParkerVision’s patents in suit were filed). The second is van Graas, “The Fourth Method: Generating and Detecting SSB Signals”, QEX Sep 1990, pp 7-11. Both of these describe precisely the circuit that Qualcomm used in the QSC6270. (The earlier reference is actually better described, but harder to find.) There are other papers, but these should suffice.
Since Qualcomm implemented a circuit that was precisely described in both a public paper and a US patent that pre-existed ParkerVision, QSC6270 can not be found guilty of infringing a valid ParkerVision patent claim – any infringed patent claim must invalid.
Essentially all of the other “accused” Qualcomm parts are even simpler to analyze – these are simple passive mixers using a 50% duty clock. The prior art here is truly massive, but I will show an simple example. The textbook by Thomas H. Lee “The Design of CMOS Radio-Frequency Integrated Circuits” (published in January 1998 - well before the ParkerVision patents) on pp 333-335 describe quite precisely the circuits as used in these other designs. Furthermore, pp 562-565 show how these circuits are to be used in a direct conversion receiver. This example is very clear, but there is a plenty of earlier prior art of a similar nature.
I was writing this up as a white paper before the Markman came out. I will finish it ASAP (with diagrams from the relevant papers) and make it available on pvnotes for general use.
[2012.09.27] Prediction on Markman Ruling
Sometime over the next weeks or months, Judge Dalton will issue his Markman ruling.
There are a number of key issues which will be decided. “n=1” is only one issue that PRKR must win to stay in the game - there are many other claims definitions on which could PRKR lose the entire case (i.e. lose a motion for summary judgment of non-infringement).
As I mentioned in an earlier post on the Yahoo board, I hired two people to attend the Markman hearing (an attny and an RF engineer). We’ve done a pretty thorough analysis of the issues and feel fairly confident that Qualcomm will win most of the contested claim construction arguments, and almost surely, will be in a good position to win a motion for summary judgment of non-infringement on all claims.
We generally agreed that although Qualcomm had the better argument on “n=1”, this was where QCOM was weakest - both in the written and oral briefs. On most of the other points, QCOM made overwhelming convincing arguments, and PRKR didn’t (in many cases) even bother to refute QCOM’s points. Given that any fair-minded judge will be reluctant to rule completely with one side, I think it likely that Judge Dalton will (most likely) give “n=1” to PRKR, and pretty much everything else to QCOM.
Even if QCOM wins nearly everything except “n=1”, I nevertheless expect Jeff Parker and his followers to claim victory.
We should know soon.
[2011.07.22] ParkerVision V. Qualcomm
I can't see any possible infringement on these named patents from the claimed Qualcomm products & don't understand how this lawsuit will get very far.
I will post a more complete analysis later, as well as a transcript of the conference call.
I will also organize a web page specifically for this lawsuit, in order to keep the information easily available.
[2010.06.07] Comments on securities fraud and ParkerVision
If it can be shown that Jeff Parker knowingly made materially false statements, then he committed securities fraud.
It is not sufficient to prove that he made false statements, one must prove that he knew (or should have know) that they were false - a more difficult proposition.
I would argue that most of Jeff's fraud is committed in a slightly different way. Jeff routinely omits highly material facts (one might say *highly important* material facts), including problems with PRKR RF chips that he claims are working, and details of his relationships with "partners" and customers.
One hopes that all of this will eventually see the light of day in legal filings.
Using employees, relatives, friends and consultants to boost the stock on the Yahoo board is *probably* a gray area legally. If it can be proved that Jeff was actively involved in convincing, supporting and feeding information to these posters, I believe it would be helpful in proving his state-of-mind in actively promoting securities fraud.
I don't believe Jeff would be stupid enough to personally post on Yahoo under a false name.
[2010.03.18] I've updated the ParkerVision conference call audio and transcripts for the last two quarters. I'll add some comments later.
[2010.03.14] Updated information on the cost of entry into the grey market
The advantage of the grey market is the extremely low entry cost. It cost less than $100K to modify an existing phone. The factories are cheap, tooling is cheap (as long as you reuse existing tooling), and the parts are cheap. For a few hundred thousand dollars plus appoximately $50 per phone one can have a lot of mediocre phones built in China. Note that this doesn't include the engineering costs of the LG Innotek modules - but PRKR has to do that anyway. This is where PRKR is going to lose it's shirt - it will be replacing $0.50 PAs with $5.00 modules from LGI.
This in almost exactly SignalMax dejavu - and for the same reasons - Jeff Parker can't find *any* customers for the D2P module, so he's going to show the world and make his own phone.
[2010.03.14] What's going on with ParkerVision?
From various sources, we have learned that ParkerVision has been unable to find a phone customer for the D2P module designed for Via Telecom. Because of this there will be no revenue from either Via or ITT in 2010. Apparently neither the specifications nor the price were interesting to potential customers. This confirms what we've said all along - D2P doesn't actually work, in that it doesn't result in higher efficiency.
In order to have some form of revenue in 2010, it appears that Jeff Parker has decided to build his own phone using D2P and sell it in the grey market – mostly in Asia. The phone is a modified version of an existing Via Telecom grey market phone, with the existing PA (and transmitter?) swapped out for ParkerVision D2D module (possibly using LG Innotek as a module supplier).
Grey market phones are widely sold in Asia, with varying quality and margins. I don’t know the details of the price range or specs on the PRKR phone, but all of my sources were *very* skeptical that ParkerVision will manage to make money from selling grey market phones, much less make enough to cover PRKR's $16M per year fixed expenses. Remember the 2003-2005 SignalMax debacle, where ParkerVision couldn’t find a customer for D2D - so they sold their own wireless data cards. They sold 10’s of thousands of cards (at most) and lost somewhere between $40M and $60M, finally abandoning SignalMax in 2005. This “new” phone strategy appears to be a nearly exact repeat of SignalMax, even to what will probably be heavily negative margins - just to be able to claim revenues.
I’ve confirmed this with multiple sources, so I’m think this is reasonably accurate information. It is possible that Jeff will try to claim that he has an independent customer in Asia, but I would bet quite a lot that the customer (if any) is not at all independent. At best the customer(s) will be a bunch of “mom and pop” distributors/resellers – which is where a lot of grey market phones are sold.
I strongly suspect that the recent price and volume activity is due to Jeff Parker selectively telling certain of his investors about the upcoming “announcement”. It would seem mostly likely that Jeff has pitched the announcement as either a customer or product announcement (or both). The reality, as people found in 2004 (and 2005, etc) and will see again over the next 6-9 months, is very different from what Jeff claims.
The Economist has a good article on grey market or counterfeit phones at http://www.economist.com/business-finance/displaystory.cfm?story_id=E1_T... (Nov 19, 2009). Another interesting article is at http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b396d2d6-10c0-11df-975e-00144feab49a.html . Note that one of the defining characteristics of the grey market is that no royalties are paid - really great for PRKR's business model.
Note that I don't claim to know what Jeff is going to talk about in the March 15 conference call or the March 16 Roth presentation. This is simply a prediction of the events of the next 6-9 months.
[2009.11.05] Jeff Parker seems to be re-announcing old news.
On December 23, 2008, Jeff Parker announced “ParkerVision Delivers d2p(TM) Silicon to Commercial Chipset Customer”. “ParkerVision, Inc. (Nasdaq: PRKR), announced today that it has received customer acceptance of its production-ready d2p(TM) silicon that was recently delivered to the company's commercial chipset customer pursuant to the licensing agreement announced December 21, 2007. Transceiver development boards compatible with the customer's demonstration platform were populated with ParkerVision's d2p silicon to facilitate more efficient testing and verification. Within a short time of delivery, the customer was able to place compliant phone calls using the d2p silicon.” http://ir.parkervision.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=355693
On Tuesday, October 27, 2009, Jeff Parker announced “ParkerVision Announces Sample Phones Tested and Accepted by Its Commercial Chipset Customer”. “The performance of these sample handsets was tested, verified and accepted by the chipset customer, a licensee of ParkerVision's d2p and d2d(TM) technologies. The sample handsets were assembled for the purpose of verifying the d2p technology in working mobile handset implementations, testing the technology in actual network operation, and creating sales samples for handset OEM/ODMs who purchase chipsets from ParkerVision's licensee.” http://finance.yahoo.com/news/ParkerVision-Announces-Sample-pz-407000913...
Pretty much the same announcement (certainly the same substance), but nearly 11 months have elapsed, so I guess Jeff thinks the market has forgotten. Or, just possibly, the recent announcement is related to the current cash position of PRKR (less than 30 days, according to my spreadsheet) & the difficulties Jeff is having closing a new round.
Finally, remember that Jeff promised revenue in commercial handset H2 2009 in the late 2008 conference calls. What we got was a re-announcement of the same prototype.
[2009.08.14] First reactions to the ParkerVision 2009Q2 conference call (2009.08.10)
I'm flabbergasted that they still don't have a working phone - Jeff claimed in late 2008 that the chips were "working" (actually, he first claimed they had working D2P chips in Jan 2005, with shipments to begin in Fall 2005 - but that's another post.)
The Yahoo poster "iamrefr" is correct that even after the phone "works", there is a lengthy test cycle for a phone with a new RF subsystem. It is a regulatory and carrier requirement and can't be skipped. There is no chance whatsoever of a carrier shipping a phone this year.
I am quite confident even if Jeff Parker puts out a press release claiming a "working" phone that (a) no one will be allowed to test it without an NDA (which NDA would not allow publication of any issues or details of the test) and (b) that the power efficiency of the phone will be poor (or else they're not implementing the D2P patents). By not allowing independent testing, Jeff will prevent negative information getting out - at least for long enough for him to raise the next round - which is the whole point of the "working" phone press announcement.
The ITT blather is a complete joke. I'm fairly certain that Jeff is trying to get a government grant using ITT as his front. I can't believe any government granting agency would be stupid enough to give PRKR/ITT money for D2P, but you never know. In any case, ITT is not going to ship a product using D2P in the foreseeable future - they're not even working on a product.
[2009-06-29] I must have touched a raw nerve. On Sunday, June 27, 2009, I posted a list of names of ParkerVision "supporters" on the Yahoo PRKR board. The post was just deleted, presumably by ParkerVision. Here is a copy of the post. Any comments (or additions) on the names would be welcome.
[2009-04-16] Over the last few days, nearly all of my recent posts on the Yahoo PRKR board were deleted. I firmly believe that the deletions were at the request of Jeff Parker and his affliates. They're done the same thing in the past year - requesting that Yahoo delete my posts.
Luckily, I had saved most of the recent posts. The most interesting are Yahoo20090331 and Yahoo20090404. As you can see, if these posts were false, Jeff should sue me. Instead he reacts by asking Yahoo to have the posts removed (or, more likely, used one of his "agents" to make the request). The posts are true, Jeff knows it, and he desperately needs to have them removed so that investors can't see them.
[2009-02-16] I've written a single, up-to-date document describing what I currently know about ParkerVision "customers" and technology. Jeff Parker and ParkerVision is more-or-less out of money (as of mid-Feb. 2009), and is now running on fumes. ParkerVision currently has a booth in Barcelona at the GSM world conference, trying to pull off a last-ditch attempt to get a major customer and raise money.
[2008-12-15] I don't (yet) know the details of the ParkerVision/LG Innotek "deal".
A few observations. LG Innotek is a packaging company who almost entirely builds modules. The bulk of their sales are displays for cell phones. They don't appear to have any RF chip design expertise, and so a quote from Jeff Parker claiming that LG Innotek has "validated" D2P technology isn't very impressive. I'm much more impressed by the analysis of people from RFMD, Skyworks, SiGe, Nokia, Freescale, Samsung, etc. that D2P doesn't work. These are people who actually know what they're doing.
The bigger issue is that Jeff Parker has more-or-less just announced that there will be no revenues until Q3 or Q4 of 2009 - at the earliest. If you listen carefully to the last call, the schedule for Via has slipped and it's now integration (by Via Telecom) in Q1 2009 (or later), and shipments after that. In the December 2007 and in the first half of 2008, Jeff was still claiming royalties in 2008 or Q1 2009 at the latest.
Jeff is pretty clever, PRKR is nearly out of money (mid-Feb is my best guess) and so he had to announce something. The fact that he convince *any* company to do an announcement is pretty amazing.
In any case PRKR is burning closer to $6M in cash per quarter (they capitalize patent expenses and don't count them in the cash burn!). I'm predicting about $3-4 in net cash (after subtracting Accounts Payable) at the end of 2008. This puts them in mid-Feb for running out of cash without a PIPE.
The technology (D2P) still doesn't work. The modules with LG Innotek rely on a chip (the D2P receiver) which isn't even designed yet, so there is no way the LG modules can ship in 2009. Jeff is really off into fantasy land, but he pretty much has to make these claims to have any chance of raising money and keeping off the stockholder lawsuits.
[2008.11.12] Steve Cripps sent me an update to his report on the D2P talk in Amsterdam.
[2008.11.2] ParkerVision appears to have withdrawn from the AeA Classic conference in San Diego. I believe this happened in the last week or so, since they were on the presenter list as of a few weeks ago, and are no longer on the list.
[2008.11.2] Greg Rawlins (representing ParkerVision) gave a talk on D2P at the European Microwave Conference 2008. His talk was at 5pm on Wed, Oct. 29. Steve Cripps attended the talk and wrote a report.
[2008.10.29] The first report is in from Greg Rawlins' talk on D2P at the 38th European Microwave Conference.
There was very little detail on how D2P works. There were claims & graphs of D2P efficiency (apparently unchanged from the ParkerVision charts of spring 2008, and little changed from the claims of 2005). Rawlins' slides were different from the paper - in his talk he skipped quickly over the efficiency charts and gave a 15 min lecture on thermodynamics. This bizarre and off-topic lecture combined with the nearly total lack of technical content was not well received. Hostile questions and a quote from an attendee as the meeeting was breaking up - "biggest piece of BS I've ever heard".
The paper still shows an FPGA, so the results don't appear to be from a working chip. Power numbers now include more of the "overhead" circuitry, and apparently don't show efficiency improvements over existing PA chips.
I should have a more complete report, together with the paper itself, by tomorrow. I'll put both on pvnotes.com when I get them.
[2008.10.29] Certain anonymous posters on the ParkerVision Yahoo board have claimed that Jeff Parker is at worst "optimistic" in his public statements, and challenged anyone to produce any false statements that Jeff has made. Here is a list of materially false statements that Jeff Parker has made recently - all on public conference calls.
[2008.09.07] I've added a detailed overview of the ParkerVision/Via Telecom relationship.
[2008.09.07] Some quotes from Jeff Parker on publishing the technical details of d2p - and how he broke those promises.
[2008.09.07] Some quotes from Jeff Parker on preannouncing OEM deals. Jeff has preannounced 9 of the last 2 deals (to borrow a phrase).
[2008.07.06] I've added a trip report for the IMS 2008 conference. ParkerVision did not give a talk.
Last year (late 2007) Jeff Parker repeatedly promised to publish detailed technical explanation of the ParkerVision D2P technology. In April of 2008, the ParkerVision website was updated, but with no technical substance. His claims that ParkerVision publishes "more than their competitors" is also totally false. I'm currently at the 2008 MTT conference in Atlanta, GA, where the all of the major PA companies are giving very detailed papers on upcoming technolgy. ParkerVision has not given any talks and, of course, there is no substance on the PV website. Jeff is claiming to have delivered on his promises of late last year, but as with all of his previous committments, Jeff likes to edit history to match what he actually delivers - i.e. nothing.
Update - I've been told that at least one ParkerVision paper submission was rejected for lack of technical content. Apparently, ParkerVision tried to submit a paper to a technical conference with similar content to the PV website and was rejected. Since ParkerVision gave no paper or other presentation at the conference, I have to assume that all of their submissions were rejected.
Right on schedule, on March 6, 2008, ParkerVision announced a $9.3M PIPE. This gives ParkerVision another six or so months of life - as of March 7, 2008 they appear to have cash to last until Q1/Q2 2009.
Please read our comments on the recent (2007.12.21) ParkerVision announcement.
ParkerVision was founded in 1989. It has never had a profitable quarter.
From 1989 to 2004 its main product was Cameraman, a robotic camera system for TV stations. Cameraman was never profitable and the Cameraman division was sold in 2004 for $14M.
ParkerVision announced D2D (Direct2Data), a direct-conversion receiver technology, in 1997. Although Jeff Parker announced the first D2D chips in 1997, no actual product shipped until 2003. In fact, owing to a complete lack of OEM adoption, the only use of the D2D chip as a component was in the ParkerVision 802.11b SignalMax product. Sales of SignalMax were poor and the product was dropped in 2005. To the best of our knowledge, no other implementations of D2D were ever completed and brought to market. At this point, D2D technology offers no advantage over alternative direct-conversion receiver technologies, which are shipping in large quantities. Furthermore, to our knowledge, there is no current interest in licensing D2D.
In January 2005, ParkerVision announced D2P (Direct2Power). Jeff Parker called D2P a revolutionary, high-efficiency RF power amplifier (PA) technology for cell phones. In the announcement, Jeff said that ParkerVison had working chips, and that ParkerVision would be able to ship in volume by the end of the 2005. By the end of 2007, ParkerVision was still showing a breadboard with an FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) with some analog circuitry in order to demonstrate D2P. Apparently, ParkerVision did implement some sort of D2P chip in 2005 (implementing the MISO idea from the only issued ParkerVision D2P patent 7,184,723), but the chip had, contrary to Jeff's claims, poor efficiency (as expected - all of the consultants who have looked at the existing D2P patent have said that it would not lead to an efficient PA). This led to a shift in strategy from selling chips (2005) to licensing (2006-), as well as new batch of provisional patent applications (List of D2P Applications)), in an attempt to "patch" the idea of the original patent.
We (and our consultants) are still evaluating the (many) D2P provisionals. Based on what we have seen so far, the "patches" seem neither practical nor useful. The general idea is to using a signal processor to "predistort" the signal going into a very efficient, but highly nonlinear RF amplifier, with the result being linear. Our analysis indicates that the signal processing requirements lead to a very high power consumption, and, although the approach might linearize the resulting signal, it would not result in a high-efficiency PA. Moreover, the idea of predistortion is a very old idea, and there is extensive prior art. Predistortion is commonly used in base-station power amplifiers, where the high power of the signal processor is small compared to the significant power of the base-station amplifier.
Jeff has stated (as recently as December 3, 2007) that D2P doesn't use a DSP. This is, at best, misleading. All of the D2P provisional applications describe the use of extensive signal processing to predistort the signal. Possibly, Jeff would argue that D2P doesn't need a standalone DSP chip to implement this predistortion. In our view, this is a quibble, in that the function of a digital signal processor must be implemented somewhere in the system - whether it is implemented in the PA chip or in the baseband, the functional logic must exist, and will consume too much power to be practical in a cellular handset, especially at low power levels where the advantages of D2P are claimed to be the strongest. This DSP logic is currently implemented in the FPGA on the breadboard that PRKR is using as a demonstration of D2P, and exhibits extremely high power consumption.
We have talked to many (if not most) of the cellular semiconductor makers who would be potential licensees of the D2P. ParkerVision has shown its D2P (and D2D) technology to most of these companies, including industry leaders such as RFMD, Skyworks, Samsung, and Freescale.To date, every single cellular chip vendor with whom we have spoken, has told us they have no interest in D2P or D2D. Although they are prevented from saying anything publically about D2P (owing to the PRKR NDA), we are confident that none of these companies are going to license PRKR technology. In fact, contrary to Jeff's repeated statements, a number of them have told Jeff that they don't believe the D2P technology works, and that they have no interest in continuing the discussion.
Finally, please read the following if you're considering shorting ParkerVision.