Commitments and Contingencies
|3 Months Ended|
Dec. 28, 2014
|Notes to Financial Statements [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 approximately $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. Post-verdict motions, including the Company’s motions for judgment as a matter of law and a new trial on invalidity and non-infringement and ParkerVision’s motions for injunctive relief and ongoing royalties, were filed by January 24, 2014. A hearing on these motions was held on May 1, 2014. 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 the remaining motions 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 parties are currently submitting appeal briefs to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which will schedule a hearing once briefing is completed. 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 now alleges that the Company infringes 11 additional patents and seeks damages and injunctive and other relief. The Company was served with the complaint in this second action on August 28, 2014 and answered on November 17, 2014. The judge has not yet set a schedule, but the parties have jointly proposed a claim construction hearing date in September 2015, a date for the close of discovery in the first half of 2016 and a trial date in early 2017.
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 United States International Trade Commission (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 chip 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 of Delaware 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. The evidentiary hearing for the investigation is set for June 22 to June 26, 2015. The Initial Determination of the Administrative Law Judge is due October 9, 2015, and the target date for completion of the investigation by the Commission is set for February 10, 2016. The district court case was stayed on October 23, 2014 pending completion of the ITC investigation including appeals.
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. The Company continues to cooperate with the Commission’s preliminary investigation.
European Commission Investigation: On October 15, 2014, the Commission notified the Company that it is conducting an investigation of the Company relating to Article 101 and/or 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and Article 53 and/or 54 of the Agreement for the European Economic Area (EEA Agreement). The Company understands that the investigation concerns the sale and/or marketing of the Company’s baseband chipsets, including alleged conditions relating to the provision by the Company of rebates and/or other financial incentives. 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. Given that this investigation is in its early stages, it is difficult to predict the outcome or what remedies, if any, may be imposed by the Commission. The Company continues to cooperate with the Commission as it conducts its 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 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 with respect to this matter.
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 25 different dates, with the next hearing scheduled for February 25, 2015.
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.
The Company is continuing to cooperate with the SEC and the DOJ, but is unable to predict the outcome of their investigations or any action that the SEC may decide to file.
China National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Investigation: In November 2013, the NDRC notified the Company that it had commenced an investigation of the Company relating to the Chinese Anti-Monopoly Law (AML). The investigation concerns primarily the Company’s licensing business and certain interactions between the Company’s licensing business and its chipset business, including how royalties are calculated in the Company’s patent licenses, the value exchanged for cross-licenses to patents of the Company’s licensees, whether the Company will offer license agreements limited to patents essential to certain standards, whether royalties are sought for the Company’s expired patents, the Company’s policy of selling chipsets only to the Company’s patent licensees, the alleged refusal of the Company to grant patent licenses to chipset manufacturers, and certain other terms and conditions in the Company’s patent license and chipset sale agreements. A broad range of remedies with respect to business practices deemed to violate the AML is potentially available to the NDRC, including but not limited to issuing an order to cease conduct deemed illegal, confiscating gains deemed illegally obtained, imposing a fine in the range of 1% to 10% of the prior year’s revenues and requiring modifications to business practices. Given the limited precedent of enforcement actions and penalties under the AML, it is difficult to predict the outcome of this matter or what remedies may be imposed by the NDRC. The Company continues to cooperate with the NDRC as it conducts its investigation.
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. The Company understands that the investigation concerns primarily the Company’s licensing business, including potential breach of FRAND commitments. 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 licensing practices. Given that this investigation is in its early stages, it is difficult to predict the outcome of this matter or what remedies, if any, may be imposed by the FTC. The Company has responded to the FTC’s initial request for documents and continues to cooperate with the FTC 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. The Company has not recorded any accrual at December 28, 2014 for contingent losses associated with these matters based on its belief that, with the exception of the NDRC matter, losses, while possible, are not probable. Further, any possible range of loss cannot be reasonably estimated at this time. Regarding the NDRC matter, the Company believes that a loss is probable but that 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 28, 2014, 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.
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 December 28, 2014 associated with these indemnification arrangements, other than insignificant 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 28, 2014 for the remainder of fiscal 2015 and for each of the subsequent four years from fiscal 2016 through 2019 were approximately $3.8 billion, $1.1 billion, $1.2 billion, $959 million and $892 million, respectively, and $242 million thereafter. Of these amounts, for the remainder of fiscal 2015 and for each of the subsequent four years from fiscal 2016 through 2019, commitments to purchase integrated circuit product inventories comprised $3.3 billion, $986 million, $956 million, $919 million and $874 million, respectively, and $214 million thereafter. Integrated circuit product inventory obligations represent purchase commitments for wafers, 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, cancelation of outstanding purchase commitments is generally allowed but requires payment of costs incurred through the date of cancelation, and in some cases, incremental fees related to capacity underutilization.
Operating Leases. The Company leases certain of its land, facilities and equipment under noncancelable operating leases, with terms ranging from less than one year to 25 years and with provisions in certain leases for cost-of-living increases. Future minimum lease payments for the remainder of fiscal 2015 and for each of the subsequent four years from fiscal 2016 through 2019 are $69 million, $80 million, $61 million, $32 million, $21 million, respectively, and $27 million thereafter.
The entire disclosure for commitments and contingencies.
Reference 1: http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/presentationRef