Shares of ParkerVision Inc. (PRKR) plunged as much as 50% after the company announced an unfavorable decision by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upholding a district court’s finding of non-infringement in its action against Qualcomm.

ParkerVision shares fell 12 cents, or 26%, to 34 cents in trading today after plunging as low as 20 cents.

Jacksonville, Florida-based ParkerVision had been hoping the Federal Circuit might overturn the ruling of the district court on non-infringement, which also threw out a $170 million jury verdict the company had won against Qualcomm.

"The odds of them winning this were low," said Greg Lewin, who holds a small position in ParkerVision at his Lewin Capital Partners investment firm. "I was meaningfully sad. There's no doubt Qualcomm stole their stuff. It was patently obvious to anyone who watched the trial."

The Federal Circuit ruled that ParkerVision did not prove infringement of its patents by Qualcomm. The appellate court further upheld the district court's decision denying Qualcomm's judgement as a matter of law motion for invalidity with regard to claim 27 of the '518 patent but reversed the district court's decision with regard to Qualcomm's judgement as a matter of law for invalidity on the remaining claims in the case.

"The district court based its non-infringement ruling on two grounds," the Federal Circuit ruling said. "First, the court found that the accused products did not practice the limitation that recites 'generating a lower frequency signal,' which is present in each asserted claim. The court held that ParkerVision’s infringement expert conceded that in the accused products the baseband signal was created before, or 'upstream from,' the storage capacitor. That concession, the court concluded, was fatal to ParkerVision’s claim under the 'generating' limitation. Second, the court concluded that Qualcomm’s '50% duty cycle' products did not practice the 'sampling' limitation, which is found in claims 27, 82, 90, and 91 of the ’518 patent, and in claim 2 of the ’371 patent. We agree with the district court on both grounds."

“We are highly disappointed with the appellate court's decision both with regard to infringement and validity of certain of our patent claims,” ParkerVision CEO Jeffrey Parker said in a statement.

“Despite this setback, we will consider further options on appeal, and will move forward in our second infringement case against Qualcomm, HTC and Samsung.

ParkerVision remains “unwavering in our conviction that certain of our technologies have wide-spread applications in the industry and in our plans to continue to vigorously pursue the successful commercialization of those technologies through every means available to us.”

The company filed the remaining infringement action against Qualcomm, HTC and Samsung in U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Florida in 2014, alleging the infringement of eleven ParkerVision patents related to RF down-conversion and up-conversion technologies, systems for control of multi-mode, multi-band communications, baseband innovations including control and system calibration, and wireless protocol conversion.

The case schedule has a Markman hearing on August 12 and a trial scheduled to begin on August 1, 2016.

"Hopefully, they learn from their mistakes," Lewin said. "They lost the judgment as a matter of law motion because they put up the wrong lawyer. They didn't put up the lead lawyer, they put up a junior guy. He didn't understand that the judge wasn't satisfied with his answers. The lead lawyer would have been able to handle the judge's questions."

The new case "is six times bigger than the first case against Qualcomm," Lewin said. "The verdict could yield $500 million."

Dex Wheeler, the chief research analyst at M-CAM, a Charlottesville, Virginia-based IP investment advisory firm, said in an email that "this is what was expected coming out of the May hearing. Now, ParkerVision will focus on its second case against Qualcomm and any potential payday is pushed much further out. I'd also say investor faith in the ParkerVision legal team should be at an all time low."

—To reach the reporter responsible for this story please contact Dan Lonkevich at 707 318-7899 or dan@thepatentinvestor.com