Commitments and Contingencies (Notes)
|3 Months Ended|
Dec. 27, 2015
|Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]|
|Commitments and Contingencies||
Note 6. Commitments and Contingencies
Legal Proceedings. ParkerVision, Inc. v. QUALCOMM Incorporated: On July 20, 2011, ParkerVision filed a complaint against the Company in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida alleging that certain of the Company’s products infringe seven of its patents alleged to cover direct down-conversion receivers. ParkerVision’s complaint sought damages and injunctive and other relief. Subsequently, ParkerVision narrowed its allegations to assert only four patents. On October 17, 2013, the jury returned a verdict finding all asserted claims of the four at-issue patents to be infringed and finding that none of the asserted claims are invalid. On October 24, 2013, the jury returned a separate verdict assessing total past damages of $173 million and finding that the Company’s infringement was not willful. The Company recorded the verdict amount in fiscal 2013 as a charge in other expenses. On June 20, 2014, the court granted the Company’s motion to overturn the infringement verdict, denied the Company’s motion to overturn the invalidity verdict and denied ParkerVision’s motions for injunctive relief and ongoing royalties as moot. The court then entered judgment in the Company’s favor. As a result of the court’s judgment, the Company is not liable for any damages to ParkerVision, and therefore, the Company reversed all recorded amounts related to the damages verdict in fiscal 2014. On June 25, 2014, ParkerVision filed a notice of appeal with the court. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit heard the appeal on May 8, 2015 and issued a decision on July 31, 2015. The decision affirmed the District Court’s finding of non-infringement and granted in part the Company’s cross-appeal, holding 10 of the 11 asserted claims invalid. A subsequent Petition for Rehearing by ParkerVision was denied on October 2, 2015. On December 16, 2015, ParkerVision was granted an extension of the deadline to file a petition requesting that the United States Supreme Court hear ParkerVision’s appeal of the Federal Circuit decision. The petition is now due on January 29, 2016.
On May 1, 2014, ParkerVision filed another complaint against the Company in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida alleging patent infringement. On August 21, 2014, ParkerVision amended the compliant, now captioned ParkerVision, Inc. v. QUALCOMM Incorporated, Qualcomm Atheros, Inc., HTC Corporation, HTC America, Inc., Samsung Electronics Co., LTD., Samsung Electronics America, Inc. and Samsung Telecommunications America, LLC, broadening the allegations. ParkerVision alleged that the Company infringes 11 additional patents and seeks damages and injunctive and other relief. On September 25, 2015, ParkerVision filed a motion with the court to sever some claims against the Company and all other defendants into a separate lawsuit. In addition, on December 3, 2015, ParkerVision dismissed six patents from the lawsuit and granted the Company and all other defendants a covenant not to assert those patents against any existing products. The close of discovery is scheduled for April 2016, and the trial is scheduled for November 2016. A claim construction ruling and a ruling on ParkerVision’s severance motion are still pending.
On December 14, 2015, ParkerVision filed a third complaint against the Company in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida alleging patent infringement. Apple Inc., Samsung Electronics Co., LTD., Samsung Electronics America, Inc., Samsung Telecommunications America, LLC, Samsung Semiconductor, Inc., LG Electronics, Inc., LG Electronics U.S.A., Inc. and LG Electronics MobileComm U.S.A., Inc. are also named defendants. The complaint asserts four additional patents and seeks damages and other relief. On December 15, 2015, ParkerVision filed a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) pursuant to Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 against the same parties asserting the same four patents. The complaint seeks an exclusion order barring the importation of products that use either of two Company transceivers or one Samsung transceiver and a cease and desist order preventing the Company and the other defendants from carrying out commercial activities within the United States related to such products. On January 13, 2016, the Company served its answer to the District Court complaint. On January 15, 2016, the ITC instituted an investigation. The ITC has not yet determined a target date for concluding its investigation.
Nvidia Corporation v. QUALCOMM Incorporated: On September 4, 2014, Nvidia filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware and also with the ITC pursuant to Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 against the Company, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. and other Samsung entities, alleging infringement of seven patents related to graphics processing. In the ITC complaint, Nvidia seeks an exclusion order barring the importation of certain consumer electronics and display device products, including some that incorporate the Company’s chipset products, that infringe, induce infringement and/or contribute to the infringement of at least one of the seven asserted graphics processing patents as well as a cease and desist order preventing the Company from carrying out commercial activities within the United States related to such products. In the District Court complaint, Nvidia is seeking an award of damages for the infringement of the asserted patents, a finding that such infringement is willful and treble damages for such willful infringement, and an order permanently enjoining the Company from infringing the asserted patents. The ITC instituted an investigation into Nvidia’s allegations on October 6, 2014. Nvidia later narrowed the case to three asserted patents. On October 9, 2015, the Administrative Law Judge issued an Initial Determination finding no violation of Section 337 because none of the three patents were both valid and infringed. On October 22, 2015, the Administrative Law Judge issued a recommendation that, if the ITC were to find any violation of Section 337 in the investigation, the ITC should issue a limited exclusion order directed at Samsung’s accused products and a cease and desist order against Samsung but not the Company. On October 26, 2015, Nvidia filed a petition requesting the ITC to review the Initial Determination as to two of the asserted patents, but is no longer pursuing infringement allegations with respect to the third patent. On December 14, 2015, the ITC issued its decision not to review the Initial Determination of the Administrative Law Judge. This made final the determination that the Company did not violate Section 337. Therefore, neither an exclusion order nor a cease and desist order were issued. Nvidia has until February 12, 2016 to file a notice of appeal of the ITC’s determination. The District Court case was stayed on October 23, 2014 pending completion of the ITC investigation, including appeals.
LG Electronics, Inc. (LGE) Arbitration: In December 2015, LGE filed an arbitration demand with the International Chamber of Commerce alleging that it overpaid royalties on certain CDMA (including WCDMA) subscriber units based on the alleged effect of specific provisions in its license agreement, and that the Company breached its license agreement with LGE, as well as certain implied covenants. The arbitration demand seeks determination and return of the overpayment and determination of the ongoing royalties owed by LGE. The Company intends to respond to the arbitration demand, denying the allegations and requesting judgment in its favor on all claims. Although the Company believes LGE’s claims are without merit, it has deferred the recognition of revenue related to CDMA subscriber unit royalties reported and paid by LGE in the first quarter of fiscal 2016 because, among other reasons, the matter has been submitted to arbitration for resolution.
Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) Complaint: The JFTC received unspecified complaints alleging that the Company’s business practices are, in some way, a violation of Japanese law. On September 29, 2009, the JFTC issued a cease and desist order concluding that the Company’s Japanese licensees were forced to cross-license patents to the Company on a royalty-free basis and were forced to accept a provision under which they agreed not to assert their essential patents against the Company’s other licensees who made a similar commitment in their license agreements with the Company. The cease and desist order seeks to require the Company to modify its existing license agreements with Japanese companies to eliminate these provisions while preserving the license of the Company’s patents to those companies. The Company disagrees with the conclusions that it forced its Japanese licensees to agree to any provision in the parties’ agreements and that those provisions violate the Japanese Antimonopoly Act. The Company has invoked its right under Japanese law to an administrative hearing before the JFTC. In February 2010, the Tokyo High Court granted the Company’s motion and issued a stay of the cease and desist order pending the administrative hearing before the JFTC. The JFTC has held hearings on 31 different dates, with the next hearing scheduled for February 25, 2016.
Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) Complaint: On January 4, 2010, the KFTC issued a written decision finding that the Company had violated Korean law by offering certain discounts and rebates for purchases of its CDMA chipsets and for including in certain agreements language requiring the continued payment of royalties after all licensed patents have expired. The KFTC levied a fine, which the Company paid and recorded as an expense in fiscal 2010. The Company appealed to the Seoul High Court, and on June 19, 2013, the Seoul High Court affirmed the KFTC’s decision. On July 4, 2013, the Company filed an appeal with the Korea Supreme Court. There have been no material developments during fiscal 2016 with respect to this matter.
Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) Investigation: On March 17, 2015, the KFTC notified the Company that it is conducting an investigation of the Company relating to the Korean Monopoly Regulation and Fair Trade Act (MRFTA). On November 13, 2015, the Company received a case Examiner’s Report (ER) prepared by the KFTC’s investigative staff. The ER alleges, among other things, that the Company is in violation of Korean competition law by licensing its patents exhaustively only to device manufacturers and requiring that its chipset customers be licensed to the Company’s intellectual property. The ER also alleges that the Company obtains certain terms, including royalty terms, that are unfair or unreasonable in its license agreements through negotiations that do not conform to Korean competition law. The ER proposes remedies including modifications to certain business practices and monetary penalties. It remains difficult to predict the outcome of this matter. The Company believes that its business practices do not violate the MRFTA. The Company continues to cooperate with the KFTC as it conducts its investigation.
Icera Complaint to the European Commission (Commission): On June 7, 2010, the Commission notified and provided the Company with a redacted copy of a complaint filed with the Commission by Icera, Inc. (subsequently acquired by Nvidia Corporation) alleging that the Company has engaged in anticompetitive activity. The Company was asked by the Commission to submit a preliminary response to the portions of the complaint disclosed to it, and the Company submitted its response in July 2010. Subsequently, the Company has provided and continues to provide additional documents and information as requested by the Commission. On July 16, 2015, the Commission announced that it had initiated formal proceedings in this matter. On December 8, 2015, the Commission announced that it had issued a Statement of Objections expressing its preliminary view that between 2009 and 2011, the Company engaged in predatory pricing by selling certain baseband chipsets to two customers at prices below cost, with the intention of hindering competition. A Statement of Objections informs the subject of the investigation of the allegations against it and provides an opportunity to respond to such allegations. It is not a determination of the final outcome of the investigation. If a violation is found, a broad range of remedies is potentially available to the Commission, including imposing a fine and/or injunctive relief prohibiting or restricting certain business practices. It is difficult to predict the outcome of this matter or what remedies, if any, may be imposed by the Commission. The Company believes that its business practices do not violate the EU competition rules.
European Commission (Commission) Investigation: On October 15, 2014, the Commission notified the Company that it is conducting an investigation of the Company relating to Articles 101 and/or 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). On July 16, 2015, the Commission announced that it had initiated formal proceedings in this matter. On December 8, 2015, the Commission announced that it had issued a Statement of Objections expressing its preliminary view that since 2011 the Company has paid significant amounts to a customer on condition that it exclusively use the Company’s baseband chipsets in its smartphones and tablets. This conduct has allegedly reduced the customer’s incentives to source chipsets from the Company’s competitors and harmed competition and innovation for certain baseband chipsets. A Statement of Objections informs the subject of the investigation of the allegations against it and provides an opportunity to respond to such allegations. It is not a determination of the final outcome of the investigation. If a violation is found, a broad range of remedies is potentially available to the Commission, including imposing a fine and/or injunctive relief prohibiting or restricting certain business practices. It is difficult to predict the outcome of this matter or what remedies, if any, may be imposed by the Commission. The Company believes that its business practices do not violate the EU competition rules.
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Formal Order of Private Investigation and Department of Justice Investigation: On September 8, 2010, the Company was notified by the SEC’s Los Angeles Regional office of a formal order of private investigation. The Company understands that the investigation arose from a “whistleblower’s” allegations made in December 2009 to the audit committee of the Company’s Board of Directors and to the SEC. In 2010, the audit committee completed an internal review of the allegations with the assistance of independent counsel and independent forensic accountants. This internal review into the whistleblower’s allegations and related accounting practices did not identify any errors in the Company’s financial statements. On January 27, 2012, the Company learned that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California/Department of Justice (collectively, DOJ) had begun an investigation regarding the Company’s compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). As discussed below, FCPA compliance is also the focus of the SEC investigation. The audit committee conducted an internal review of the Company’s compliance with the FCPA and its related policies and procedures with the assistance of independent counsel and independent forensic accountants. The audit committee has completed this comprehensive review, made findings consistent with the Company’s findings described below and suggested enhancements to the Company’s overall FCPA compliance program. In part as a result of the audit committee’s review, the Company has made and continues to make enhancements to its FCPA compliance program, including implementation of the audit committee’s recommendations.
As previously disclosed, the Company discovered, and as a part of its cooperation with these investigations informed the SEC and the DOJ of, instances in which special hiring consideration, gifts or other benefits (collectively, benefits) were provided to several individuals associated with Chinese state-owned companies or agencies. Based on the facts currently known, the Company believes the aggregate monetary value of the benefits in question to be less than $250,000, excluding employment compensation.
On March 13, 2014, the Company received a Wells Notice from the SEC’s Los Angeles Regional Office indicating that the staff has made a preliminary determination to recommend that the SEC file an enforcement action against the Company for violations of the anti-bribery, books and records and internal control provisions of the FCPA. The bribery allegations relate to benefits offered or provided to individuals associated with Chinese state-owned companies or agencies. The Wells Notice indicated that the recommendation could involve a civil injunctive action and could seek remedies that include disgorgement of profits, the retention of an independent compliance monitor to review the Company’s FCPA policies and procedures, an injunction, civil monetary penalties and prejudgment interest.
A Wells Notice is not a formal allegation or finding by the SEC of wrongdoing or violation of law. Rather, the purpose of a Wells Notice is to give the recipient an opportunity to make a “Wells submission” setting forth reasons why the proposed enforcement action should not be filed and/or bringing additional facts to the SEC’s attention before any decision is made by the SEC as to whether to commence a proceeding. On April 4, 2014 and May 29, 2014, the Company made Wells submissions to the staff of the Los Angeles Regional Office explaining why the Company believes it has not violated the FCPA and therefore enforcement action is not warranted.
On November 19, 2015, the DOJ notified the Company that it was terminating its investigation and would not pursue charges in this matter. The DOJ’s decision is independent of the SEC’s investigation, with which we continue to cooperate.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Investigation: On September 17, 2014, the FTC notified the Company that it is conducting an investigation of the Company relating to Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA). The FTC has notified the Company that it is investigating conduct related to standard essential patents and pricing and contracting practices with respect to baseband processors and related products. If a violation of Section 5 is found, a broad range of remedies is potentially available to the FTC, including imposing a fine or requiring modifications to the Company’s business practices. At this stage of the investigation, it is difficult to predict the outcome of this matter or what remedies, if any, may be imposed by the FTC. The Company believes that its business practices do not violate the FTCA. The Company continues to cooperate with the FTC as it conducts its investigation.
Taiwan Fair Trade Commission (TFTC) Investigation: On December 4, 2015, the TFTC notified the Company that it is conducting an investigation into whether the Company’s patent licensing arrangements violate the Taiwan Fair Trade Act (TFTA). If a violation is found, a broad range of remedies is potentially available to the TFTC, including imposing a fine or requiring modifications to the Company’s business practices. At this stage of the investigation, it is difficult to predict the outcome of this matter or what remedies, if any, may be imposed by the TFTC. The Company believes that its business practices do not violate the TFTA. The Company continues to cooperate with the TFTC as it conducts its investigation.
The Company will continue to vigorously defend itself in the foregoing matters. However, litigation and investigations are inherently uncertain. Accordingly, the Company cannot predict the outcome of these matters. Other than a nominal amount, the Company has not recorded any accrual at December 27, 2015 for contingent losses associated with these matters based on its belief that losses, while possible, are not probable. Further, any possible range of loss cannot be reasonably estimated at this time. The unfavorable resolution of one or more of these matters could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, results of operations, financial condition or cash flows. The Company is engaged in numerous other legal actions not described above arising in the ordinary course of its business and, while there can be no assurance, believes that the ultimate outcome of these other legal actions will not have a material adverse effect on its business, results of operations, financial condition or cash flows.
Indemnifications. The Company generally does not indemnify its customers and licensees for losses sustained from infringement of third-party intellectual property rights. However, the Company is contingently liable under certain product sales, services, license and other agreements to indemnify certain customers against certain types of liability and/or damages arising from qualifying claims of patent, copyright, trademark or trade secret infringement by products or services sold or provided by the Company. The Company’s obligations under these agreements may be limited in terms of time and/or amount, and in some instances, the Company may have recourse against third parties for certain payments made by the Company. Through December 27, 2015, the Company has received a number of claims from its direct and indirect customers and other third parties for indemnification under such agreements with respect to alleged infringement of third-party intellectual property rights by its products.
Reimbursements under indemnification arrangements have not been material to the Company’s consolidated financial statements. The Company has not recorded any accrual for contingent liabilities at December 27, 2015 associated with these indemnification arrangements, other than nominal amounts, based on the Company’s belief that additional liabilities, while possible, are not probable. Further, any possible range of loss cannot be reasonably estimated at this time.
Purchase Obligations. The Company has agreements with suppliers and other parties to purchase inventory, other goods and services and long-lived assets. Obligations under these agreements at December 27, 2015 for the remainder of fiscal 2016 and for each of the subsequent four years from fiscal 2017 through 2020 were $3.2 billion, $891 million, $739 million, $718 million and $196 million, respectively, and $14 million thereafter. Of these amounts, for the remainder of fiscal 2016 and for each of the subsequent four years from fiscal 2017 through 2020, commitments to purchase integrated circuit product inventories comprised $2.6 billion, $742 million, $698 million, $699 million and $177 million, respectively, and there were no purchase commitments thereafter. Integrated circuit product inventory obligations represent purchase commitments for semiconductor die, finished goods and manufacturing services, such as wafer bump, probe, assembly and final test. Under the Company’s manufacturing relationships with its foundry suppliers and assembly and test service providers, cancellation of outstanding purchase commitments is generally allowed but requires payment of costs incurred through the date of cancellation, and in some cases, incremental fees related to capacity underutilization.
Operating Leases. The Company leases certain of its land, facilities and equipment under noncancellable operating leases, with terms ranging from less than one year to 21 years and with provisions in certain leases for cost-of-living increases. Future minimum lease payments at December 27, 2015 for the remainder of fiscal 2016 and for each of the subsequent four years from fiscal 2017 through 2020 were $75 million, $78 million, $45 million, $30 million and $20 million, respectively, and $27 million thereafter.
Other Commitments. At December 27, 2015, the Company was committed to fund certain strategic investments up to $431 million. Of this amount, $197 million is expected to be funded in the remainder of fiscal 2016. The remaining commitments represent the maximum amounts that do not have fixed funding dates and/or are subject to certain conditions. Actual funding may be in lesser amounts or not at all.
The entire disclosure for commitments and contingencies.
Reference 1: http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/presentationRef