Documents simplify ParkerVision’s argument
I have to admit, I find it difficult to follow the technical legal arguments in ParkerVision Inc.'s patent infringement lawsuit against Qualcomm Inc.
Over the years, I've listened to explanations of the company's wireless radio technology from CEO Jeff Parker and other ParkerVision officials and read a number of documents detailing the merits of the technology, but it's beyond my level of expertise.
However, I found some pretty simple explanations in pre-trial documents filed by ParkerVision and Qualcomm 10 days ago. The documents lay out the cases that will be made by both sides at trial.
ParkerVision said in the documents that its technology "makes receivers in cellphones and tablets smaller, more power efficient, and able to be used on different mobile phone networks." That's all most of us really need to know.
The lawsuit stems from negotiations in 1998 and 1999 for Qualcomm to possibly use ParkerVision's technology in its wireless products.
According to ParkerVision, "Qualcomm chose not to make a deal with ParkerVision, thinking it could save money by developing something itself," the documents said.
"After years of failed efforts to duplicate ParkerVision's results, Qualcomm decided to simply appropriate the technology that it knew full well that ParkerVision had patented," they said.
Qualcomm sees it differently.
"By the time the financial discussions ended in mid-1999, the RF engineering specialists within Qualcomm had concluded that the ParkerVision technology was not particularly novel, would require substantial effort by Qualcomm to incorporate into any cell phone product — if it even could — and that Qualcomm could independently develop its own direct down-conversion technology using a different and reliable approach. That is exactly what Qualcomm did," it said in the documents.
That's the lawsuit in a nutshell.
Unfortunately for the jurors, they will have to listen to very technical details about what is or isn't different between ParkerVision's patents and the technology in Qualcomm's products. I'm glad I don't have to figure it out.
Jacksonville-based ParkerVision has staked a great deal of its future on the outcome of the lawsuit, as it has not produced any revenue from the technology in recent years. Qualcomm took a swipe at ParkerVision's inability to sell the technology to other manufacturers in the court filing.
"The market's decision not to use ParkerVision's technology is strong evidence that it does not provide any real value over other technology," it said.
ParkerVision has never specified an exact amount of damages it is seeking, but the pre-trial documents give a better hint.
In a list of questions that will be submitted to potential jurors, one question – that Qualcomm is objecting to – indicates ParkerVision is seeking almost $500 million.
The question asks if potential jurors "feel that there is no way any patent could be worth that much money."
In a news release from ParkerVision last Monday, Parker said the $500 million "is based on estimated past damages only and does not include future use of the patents in suit, nor does it include any adjustment for willfulness, which we believe we will successfully establish in this case."
The trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 7 in federal court in Orlando.
'Challenging' second half for CSX
The second half of 2013 is turning out to be "a bit more challenging" than the first half for CSX Corp., Chief Financial Officer Fredrik Eliasson said last week.
"Overall, our volumes are up about 2 percent at this point, 10 weeks into the quarter, which I would say is about what we would have expected it to be going into the quarter, maybe slightly below," Eliasson said at an investment conference sponsored by Citigroup. The conference was broadcast over the Internet.
He said the Jacksonville-based railroad company continues to face "headwinds" from reduced coal demand, and CSX's results also will be affected by fewer gains from real estate transactions than it had in the first half of the year.
CSX's revenue figures are always a good indicator of overall economic trends. The more goods it is shipping on its rail lines, the better the economy looks.
The company is seeing growth in some areas, Eliasson said. Transportation of industrial products is up 6 percent and construction materials are up 9 percent so far in the quarter.
He said agricultural shipments are down 2 percent in the quarter but "that picture will change as we now get into the fourth quarter, because of the strong harvest that we're expecting."
CSX will release its full results for the third quarter Oct. 15.
Bi-Lo drops S.C. arena sponsorship
Bi-Lo LLC has dropped its naming rights sponsorship of an arena in its original hometown of Greenville, S.C.
The supermarket chain was headquartered in Greenville before merging last year with Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. and moving the headquarters of the combined company to Jacksonville.
According to a story last week in The Greenville News, the former Bi-Lo Center has been renamed the Bon Secours Wellness Arena after Bon Secours St. Francis Health System agreed to pay $4.5 million over 10 years for the naming rights.
Bi-Lo had been the naming rights sponsor since the 15,000-seat arena opened in 1998, paying $3 million over 15 years, the newspaper said. It said Bi-Lo had a right of first refusal on the new naming rights deal, but arena officials said Bi-Lo declined.
Ranbaxy stock plunges on FDA warning
Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd.'s stock plunged last Monday after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned drugs made at a company facility in India from entering the United States.
The stock, which trades on the Mumbai exchange, dropped 30 percent in one day.
The FDA said the facility in Mohali, India, will remain on "import alert until the company complies with U.S. drug manufacturing requirements."
This is the third Ranbaxy facility in India since 2008 to face an FDA ban.
The Indian generic drug company's U.S. sales and marketing division, Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals Inc., is headquartered in Jacksonville.
Goldman downgrades EverBank stock
Goldman Sachs analysts last week downgraded EverBank Financial Corp.'s stock from "buy" to "neutral" as part of an overall evaluation of the state of bank stocks.
Based on estimates of what the banks will earn in a "normal" banking environment, the analysts determined that Jacksonville-based EverBank had one of the highest price-to-estimated earnings ratios of the 21 banks it looked at. So they determined the stock may be overvalued, prompting the downgrade.
The analysts touted five "buy-rated banks" that "screen as trading at a discount to fair market price" and all five have significant operations in the Jacksonville area: Regions Financial Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., BB&T Corp., SunTrust Banks Inc. and Citigroup Inc.
JPMorgan Chase fines total $1 billion
Speaking of JPMorgan Chase, the company announced last week it is paying big penalties to resolve investigations into the so-called "London Whale" incident last year.
The "London Whale" is the nickname given a JPMorgan bond trader in London said to be responsible for a massive $6.2 billion trading loss in 2012.
In addition to its trading losses, the bank will pay a total of $920 million in penalties after agreeing to settlements with three U.S. regulatory agencies and one British regulator.
JPMorgan Chase was assessed fines of $300 million by the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, $200 million by the U.S. Federal Reserve System, $200 million by the Securities and Exchange Commission and $220 million by the U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority.
The Comptroller said its fine was for "unsafe and unsound practices related to derivatives trading activities."
The same day that was announced, the comptroller also said it fined JPMorgan Chase $60 million and ordered the bank to pay restitution of $309 million to customers for identity theft protection services they paid for, but did not receive. The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also assessed a $20 million penalty in that case.
That's a total of $1 billion in fines and $309 million in restitution payments in one day.
Atlantic Coast Financial CFO leaving
Atlantic Coast Financial Corp. said in an SEC filing last week that Chief Financial Officer Thomas Wagers is resigning, effective Oct. 21, to join another financial institution outside of the Jacksonville area.
Wagers had been serving as interim CEO of Atlantic Coast Financial since G. Thomas Frankland resigned in June.
Atlantic Coast Financial two weeks ago announced the hiring of John Stephens as new CEO, contingent upon the approval of banking regulators.
The company has begun a search for a permanent CFO.
Body Central downgraded
Dougherty & Company analyst Jeremy Hamblin downgraded Body Central Corp. from "buy" to "neutral" as the Jacksonville-based fashion retailer continues to struggle to rebuild sales.
"After recently traveling with management for investor meetings we sense that sales trends remain sluggish. We believe that the new Body Central team was dealt a difficult hand when it arrived in February as the company had under-invested in staff, systems and facilities for a number of years," Hamblin said in his report.
New CEO Brian Woolf was hired in February and he has overhauled the top management team.
"We believe there is still a strong long-term opportunity for the company and view many of the strategic steps that Mr. Woolf is taking as beneficial. However, the uncertainty in business near-term combined with our concerns about potential cash issues and a significantly higher SG&A hurdle rate force us to move to the sidelines," Hamblin said.
International Baler earnings drop
Jacksonville-based International Baler Corp. reported a sharp drop in earnings for the third quarter ended July 31, due to lower shipments of synthetic rubber balers.
The manufacturer of baling equipment had earnings of $29,574, or 1 cent a share, in the quarter, down from $370,578, or 7 cents a share, the previous year, according to a report filed with the SEC.
Sales dropped from $5.1 million in last year's third quarter to $3.2 million this year.
International Baler sold only one synthetic rubber baler in the third quarter of 2013, compared with six in last year's third quarter.
ClubCorp prices IPO
ClubCorp Holdings Inc. on Thursday priced its initial public offering of 18 million shares of common stock at $14 each. That was below its hoped-for price range of $16 to $18.
Dallas-based ClubCorp operates private golf, country, business, sports and alumni clubs. Its operations include two Jacksonville golf and country clubs — Deercreek Country Club and Queen's Harbour Yacht & Country Club — and one local business club, The University Club in the Riverplace Tower on Jacksonville's Southbank.
The company's stock began trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "MYCC."