Commitments and Contingencies
|12 Months Ended|
Sep. 27, 2015
|Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]|
|Commitments and Contingencies||
Note 7. 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. 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 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 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. A claim construction hearing was held on August 12, 2015, and no ruling has issued yet. The close of discovery is scheduled for March 2016, and the trial is scheduled for August 2016.
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 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 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. On April 2, 2015, the Administrative Law Judge in the ITC investigation issued a claim construction order construing seven claim terms from five of the seven asserted patents. The evidentiary hearing for the investigation was held from June 22 to 25, 2015. Nvidia 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. The target date for completion of the ITC investigation is scheduled for February 10, 2016. The district court case was stayed on October 23, 2014 pending completion of the ITC investigation, including appeals.
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 30 different dates, with the next hearing scheduled for December 16, 2015.
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 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 2015 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). The Company understands that this investigation concerns primarily its licensing business. If a violation of the MRFTA is found, a broad range of remedies is potentially available to the KFTC, 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 KFTC. 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. The Commission is investigating “alleged practices in the form of predatory pricing on certain UMTS standard-compliant chipsets used to deliver cellular mobile broadband access.” The initiation of proceedings merely means that the Commission will deal with the case as a matter of priority. 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 none of the business practices under investigation are in breach of the EU competition rules and will continue to cooperate with the Commission.
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. The Commission is investigating “alleged payments, rebates and/or other consideration granted by Qualcomm Incorporated or any of its affiliates and/or subsidiaries (Qualcomm) to smartphone and/or tablet manufacturers which are conditional upon the exclusive or quasi-exclusive use or purchase of Qualcomm products, in particular baseband chipsets, by the respective manufacturer(s).” The initiation of proceedings merely means that the Commission will deal with the case as a matter of priority. 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 none of the business practices under investigation are in breach of the EU competition rules and will continue to cooperate with the Commission.
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 actions that the SEC or DOJ may decide to file.
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 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 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 September 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 September 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.
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 September 27, 2015 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 September 27, 2015 for each of the subsequent five years from fiscal 2016 through 2020 were $3.0 billion, $953 million, $742 million, $697 million and $183 million, respectively, and $9 million thereafter. Of these amounts, for each of the subsequent five years from fiscal 2016 through 2020, commitments to purchase integrated circuit product inventories comprised $2.5 billion, $787 million, $706 million, $680 million and $166 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, 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 21 years and with provisions in certain leases for cost-of-living increases. Rental expense for fiscal 2015, 2014 and 2013 was $99 million, $91 million and $90 million, respectively. Future minimum lease payments at September 27, 2015 for each of the subsequent five years from fiscal 2016 through 2020 were $99 million, $73 million, $41 million, $27 million and $17 million, respectively, and $24 million thereafter.
The entire disclosure for commitments and contingencies.
Reference 1: http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/presentationRef