Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Commitments and Contingencies

Commitments and Contingencies
6 Months Ended
Mar. 25, 2012
Notes to Financial Statements [Abstract]  
Note 6 - Commitments and Contingencies
Note 6 — Commitments and Contingencies
Legal Proceedings. Tessera, Inc. v. QUALCOMM Incorporated: On April 17, 2007, Tessera filed a patent infringement lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas and a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) pursuant to Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 against the Company and other companies, alleging infringement of two patents. The district court action was stayed pending resolution of the ITC proceeding, including all appeals. On May 20, 2009, the ITC issued a limited exclusion order and a cease and desist order, both of which were terminated when the patents expired on September 24, 2010. During the period of the exclusion order, the Company shifted supply of accused chips for customers who manufacture products that may be imported to the United States to a licensed supplier of Tessera, and the Company continued to supply those customers without interruption. The appeals court affirmed the ITC’s orders, and on November 28, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the Company’s petition for review. On January 18, 2012, pursuant to the parties’ stipulation, the district court in the Eastern District of Texas lifted the stay and ordered that the case be moved to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. On March 1, 2012, that court consolidated the case with an earlier-filed lawsuit filed by Tessera against multiple parties, including some of the Company’s semiconductor chip package suppliers. Trial is scheduled for April 7, 2014. Tessera may continue to seek alleged past damages in the district court, but it cannot obtain injunctive relief due to the expiration of the patents.
MicroUnity Systems Engineering, Inc. v. QUALCOMM Incorporated, et al.: MicroUnity filed a total of three patent infringement complaints, on March 16, 2010, June 3, 2010 and January 27, 2011, against the Company and a number of other technology companies, including Texas Instruments, Samsung, Apple, Nokia, Google and HTC, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. MicroUnity currently asserts infringement of a total of 13 patents against the Company’s Snapdragon products, and it seeks unspecified damages and other relief. The court consolidated the actions in May 2011. Trial is scheduled for June 3, 2013.
Broadcom Corporation et al. v. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO): On November 10, 2009, Broadcom and Atheros Communications, Inc. (Atheros), which was acquired by the Company in May 2011 and renamed Qualcomm Atheros, Inc. (Qualcomm Atheros), filed a complaint for declaratory judgment against CSIRO in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, requesting the court to declare, among other things, that United States patent number 5,487,069 (the ’069 Patent) assigned to CSIRO is invalid and unenforceable and that Atheros does not infringe any valid claims of the ’069 Patent. On October 14, 2010, CSIRO filed a complaint against Atheros and Broadcom (amended and consolidated with complaints against other third parties on April 6, 2011) alleging infringement of the ’069 Patent by Atheros’ 802.11/a/g/n products. A claim construction hearing was held on October 4, 2011, and trial was scheduled for April 2, 2012. On March 24, 2012, Qualcomm Atheros and CSIRO entered into a binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) pursuant to which Qualcomm Atheros and CSIRO will dismiss without prejudice all claims against each other, and Qualcomm Atheros and CSIRO will enter into a license agreement for the ’069 Patent and corresponding patents. The MOU also provides that Qualcomm Atheros pay an amount to CSIRO that was not material to the Company’s financial statements. Upon the execution of the license agreement, the parties will dismiss with prejudice all claims against each other.
MOSAID Technologies Incorporated v. Dell, Inc. et al.: On March 16, 2011, MOSAID filed a complaint against Atheros and 32 other entities in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas alleging that certain of Atheros’ WiFi products infringe United States patent numbers 5,131,006, 5,151,920, 5,422,887, 5,706,428, 6,563,786 and 6,992,972. MOSAID seeks unspecified damages and other relief. The case is early in the discovery phase. Trial is scheduled for August 4, 2014.
India BWA Spectrum: In connection with the BWA spectrum won in India in June 2010, the Company recorded a payment in noncurrent other assets, which was $959 million and $994 million at March 25, 2012 and September 25, 2011, respectively. In addition, the Company created four wholly-owned subsidiaries in India. On August 9, 2010, each subsidiary filed an application to obtain a license to operate a wireless network on this spectrum in its respective region. Thereafter, two Indian companies each acquired 13% of each subsidiary. On September 21, 2011, the Company received a letter from the Government of India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) notifying the Company that its applications had been rejected based on the DoT’s conclusion that the applications were filed after the deadline and that the Company was restricted to filing one application rather than four. On September 27, 2011, the Company filed a petition with the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) seeking to overturn the DoT’s rejection. Thereafter, various actions related to the petition ensued before the TDSAT. On October 10, 2011, the DoT offered to issue a license that includes the four regions for which the Company won spectrum to one of the Company’s subsidiaries. On October 18, 2011, the Company agreed to the DoT’s offer and stated that, upon issuance of the license, the Company’s three other subsidiaries would merge into the subsidiary that had been granted the license. However, at a December 2, 2011 hearing before the TDSAT, the DoT stated that it had served a provisional assessment on one of the subsidiaries’ Indian shareholders, Tulip Telecom Ltd. (Tulip), for unpaid dues, including interest and penalties, and that the DoT could not issue a license to the Company’s subsidiary until the claimed dues were paid. On January 22, 2012, the Company filed an application requesting that the TDSAT order the DoT to issue the license. In the application, the Company argued that the provisional assessment was not a legal basis for the DoT to delay issuing the license. On February 10, 2012, the DoT filed its reply to the Company’s application reiterating that the DoT could not issue a license to the Company’s subsidiary until all outstanding dues were paid, together with an additional provisional assessment for prior years, increasing the DoT’s total claim for dues owed by Tulip to approximately $81 million. On February 22, 2012, the Company offered to have the Company’s subsidiary pay the dues allegedly owed by Tulip, without prejudice to the right of Tulip to contest the claim, and provided that any amount ultimately found not to be due would be refunded by the DoT. On February 24, 2012, the TDSAT ordered that (i) the Company’s subsidiary pay the dues allegedly owed by Tulip to the DoT without prejudice to the right of Tulip to contest the claim and provided that any sum ultimately found not to be due would be refunded by the DoT, without interest, within four weeks of the date of completion of the assessment; (ii) the DoT issue a license to the subsidiary within one week after payment was made; (iii) thereafter, the subsidiary file its application for assignment of the spectrum; and (iv) the DoT consider and dispose of the spectrum application as expeditiously as possible. Accordingly, on March 7, 2012, the Company’s subsidiary paid $81 million to the DoT, and on March 15, 2012, the DoT issued a license to the subsidiary. On March 21, 2012, the Company’s subsidiary filed an application for assignment of the spectrum, which application remains pending before the DoT. Tulip has agreed to repay the subsidiary for any amounts paid by the subsidiary that are ultimately found or agreed by Tulip to be due to the DoT. The $81 million payment was recorded as a charge to other operating expenses in the second quarter of fiscal 2012.
Icera Complaint to the European Commission: On June 7, 2010, the European Commission (the Commission) notified and provided the Company with a redacted copy of a complaint filed with the Commission by Icera, Inc. alleging that the Company has engaged in anticompetitive activity. The Company has been 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. On October 19, 2011, the Commission notified the Company that it should provide to the Commission additional documents and information. On January 16, 2012, the Company provided additional documents and information in response to that request. The Company continues to cooperate fully with the Commission’s preliminary investigation.
Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) Complaint: On January 4, 2010, the KFTC issued a written decision, finding that the Company had violated South Korean law by offering certain discounts and rebates for purchases of its CDMA chips 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 in the second quarter of fiscal 2010. The Company is appealing that decision in the Korean courts.
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 12 different dates, with an additional hearing day scheduled on May 11, 2012 and additional hearing days yet to be scheduled.
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Formal Order of Private Investigation and Department of Justice (DOJ) 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. 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/DOJ has begun a preliminary investigation regarding the Company’s compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), a topic about which the SEC is also inquiring. The Company believes that it is in compliance with the requirements of the FCPA and will continue to cooperate with both agencies.
Other: The Company has been named, along with many other manufacturers of wireless phones, wireless operators and industry-related organizations, as a defendant in three lawsuits pending in Washington D.C. superior court, seeking monetary damages arising out of its sale of cellular phones.
While there can be no assurance of favorable outcomes, the Company believes the claims made by other parties in the foregoing matters are without merit and will vigorously defend the actions. Other than the amount payable to CSIRO, the Company has not recorded any accrual at March 25, 2012 for contingent liabilities or recognized any asset impairment charges associated with the legal proceedings described above based on the Company’s belief that liabilities, while possible, are not probable. Further, any possible range of loss cannot be reasonably estimated at this time. 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 actions will not have a material adverse effect on its operating results, liquidity or financial position.
Litigation Settlement, Patent License and Other Related Items. On April 26, 2009, the Company entered into a Settlement and Patent License and Non-Assert Agreement with Broadcom. The Company agreed to pay Broadcom $891 million, of which $675 million was paid through March 25, 2012, and the remainder will be paid ratably through April 2013. At March 25, 2012, the carrying value of the liability was $212 million, which also approximated the fair value of the contractual liability net of imputed interest.
Loans Payable Related to India BWA Spectrum. In connection with the India BWA spectrum won in India in June 2010, certain of the Company’s subsidiaries in India entered into loan agreements with multiple lenders that are denominated in Indian rupees. In connection with the payment of the additional $81 million to the DoT described above, the Company’s subsidiary entered into an additional loan agreement denominated in Indian rupees. The loans bear interest at an annual rate based on the highest rate among the bank lenders, which is reset quarterly, plus 0.25% (10.75% at March 25, 2012) with interest payments due monthly. The loans can be prepaid without penalty on certain dates and are guaranteed by QUALCOMM Incorporated and one of its subsidiaries. In December 2011, the lender that could demand prepayment of its portion of the loans exercised its right requiring the Company to prepay the amount outstanding on February 28, 2012, which was $151 million. The Company refinanced this amount with new loans. All of the loans are due and payable in full on December 18, 2012. The loan agreements contain standard covenants, which, among other things, limit actions by the subsidiaries that are party to the loan agreements, including the incurrence of loans and equity investments, disposition of assets, mergers and consolidations and other matters customarily restricted in such agreements. The loan agreements also define certain events of default, including, among other things, if certain government authorizations are revoked, terminated, withdrawn, suspended, modified or withheld. As a result of the DoT’s actions against the Company, the bank lenders agreed (by waivers effective until at least June 1, 2012) that any default would be deemed cured if, among other things, the relevant subsidiaries continue to pursue a merger into the subsidiary that was granted the license. At March 25, 2012, the aggregate carrying value of the loans was $1.0 billion, which approximated fair value.
Indemnifications. With the exception of the practices of its Qualcomm Atheros subsidiary, 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 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. Under Qualcomm Atheros’ indemnification agreements, software license agreements and product sale agreements, including its standard software license agreements and standard terms and conditions of semiconductor sales, Qualcomm Atheros agrees, subject to restrictions and after certain conditions are met, to indemnify and defend its licensees and customers against third-party claims asserting infringement of certain intellectual property rights, which may include patents, copyrights, trademarks or trade secrets, and to pay any judgments entered on such claims against the licensees or customers. Through March 25, 2012, Qualcomm Atheros 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.
These indemnification arrangements are not initially measured and recognized at fair value because they are deemed to be similar to product warranties in that they relate to claims and/or other actions that could impair the ability of the Company’s direct or indirect customers to use the Company’s products or services. Accordingly, the Company records liabilities resulting from the arrangements when they are probable and can be reasonably estimated. 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 March 25, 2012 associated with these indemnification arrangements, other than negligible amounts for reimbursement of legal costs, based on the Company’s belief that additional liabilities, while possible, are not probable. Further, any possible range of loss cannot be 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. Noncancelable obligations under these agreements at March 25, 2012 for the remainder of fiscal 2012 and for each of the subsequent four years from fiscal 2013 through 2016 were approximately $2.0 billion, $77 million, $39 million, $36 million and $25 million, respectively, and $8 million thereafter. Of these amounts, for the remainder of fiscal 2012 and for fiscal 2013, commitments to purchase integrated circuit product inventories comprised $1.6 billion and $5 million, respectively.
Leases. The future minimum lease payments for all capital leases and operating leases at March 25, 2012 were as follows (in millions):
Remainder of fiscal 2012


















Total minimum lease payments



Deduct: Amounts representing interest

Present value of minimum lease payments

Deduct: Current portion of capital lease obligations

Long-term portion of capital lease obligations


The Company leases certain of its land, facilities and equipment under noncancelable operating leases, with terms ranging from less than one year to 35 years and with provisions in certain leases for cost-of-living increases. The Company leases certain property under capital lease agreements associated with its discontinued operations (Note 8), primarily related to site leases that have an initial term of five to seven years with renewal options of up to five additional renewal periods. In determining the capital lease classification for the site leases upon commencement of each lease, the Company included all renewal options. As a result of its restructuring plan (Note 8), the Company does not intend to renew its existing site capital leases. At March 25, 2012, the Company had $119 million of site capital lease assets (which are included in buildings and improvements in property, plant and equipment) and $137 million of capital lease obligations (which are included in other liabilities) that pertain to lease optional renewal periods. The Company expects to write off these amounts at the end of the current contractual lease terms. Any early terminations may impact the amounts that are written off.