Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Commitments and Contingencies

Commitments and Contingencies
12 Months Ended
Dec. 28, 2019
Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]  
Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Text Block]
NOTE 20 :

Commitments for construction or purchase of property, plant and equipment totaled $10.9 billion as of December 28, 2019 ($9.0 billion as of December 29, 2018), a substantial majority of which will be due within the next 12 months. Other purchase obligations and commitments totaled approximately $2.8 billion as of December 28, 2019 (approximately $3.2 billion as of December 29, 2018). Other purchase obligations and commitments include payments due under various types of licenses and agreements to purchase goods or services. For further information on our lease commitments, see "Note 3: Recent Accounting Standards."
We are a party to various legal proceedings, including those noted in this section. Although management at present believes that the ultimate outcome of these proceedings, individually and in the aggregate, will not materially harm our financial position, results of operations, cash flows, or overall trends, legal proceedings and related government investigations are subject to inherent uncertainties, and unfavorable rulings or other events could occur. Unfavorable resolutions could include substantial monetary damages. In addition, in matters for which injunctive relief or other conduct remedies are sought, unfavorable resolutions could include an injunction or other order prohibiting us from selling one or more products at all or in particular ways, precluding particular business practices, or requiring other remedies. An unfavorable outcome may result in a material adverse impact on our business, results of operations, financial position, and overall trends. We might also conclude that settling one or more such matters is in the best interests of our stockholders, employees, and customers, and any such settlement could include substantial payments. Except as specifically described below, we have not concluded that settlement of any of the legal proceedings noted in this section is appropriate at this time.
European Commission Competition Matter
In 2001, the EC commenced an investigation regarding claims by Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) that we used unfair business practices to persuade customers to buy our microprocessors. We received numerous requests for information and documents from the EC and we responded to each of those requests. The EC issued a Statement of Objections in July 2007 and held a hearing on that Statement in March 2008. The EC issued a Supplemental Statement of Objections in July 2008. In May 2009, the EC issued a decision finding that we had violated Article 82 of the EC Treaty and Article 54 of the European Economic Area Agreement. In general, the EC found that we violated Article 82 (later renumbered as Article 102 by a new treaty) by offering alleged "conditional rebates and payments" that required our customers to purchase all or most of their x86 microprocessors from us. The EC also found that we violated Article 82 by making alleged "payments to prevent sales of specific rival products." The EC imposed a fine in the amount of €1.1 billion ($1.4 billion as of May 2009), which we subsequently paid during the third quarter of 2009, and ordered us to "immediately bring to an end the infringement referred to in" the EC decision.
The EC decision contained no specific direction on whether or how we should modify our business practices. Instead, the decision stated that we should "cease and desist" from further conduct that, in the EC's opinion, would violate applicable law. We took steps, which are subject to the EC's ongoing review, to comply with that decision pending appeal. We had discussions with the EC to better understand the decision and to explain changes to our business practices.
We appealed the EC decision to the Court of First Instance (which has been renamed the General Court) in July 2009. The hearing of our appeal took place in July 2012. In June 2014, the General Court rejected our appeal in its entirety. In August 2014, we filed an appeal with the European Court of Justice. In November 2014, Intervener Association for Competitive Technologies filed comments in support of Intel’s grounds of appeal. The EC and interveners filed briefs in November 2014, we filed a reply in February 2015, and the EC filed a rejoinder in April 2015. The Court of Justice held oral argument in June 2016. In October 2016, Advocate General Wahl, an advisor to the Court of Justice, issued a non-binding advisory opinion that favored Intel on a number of grounds. The Court of Justice issued its decision in September 2017, setting aside the judgment of the General Court and sending the case back to the General Court to examine whether the rebates at issue were capable of restricting competition. The General Court has appointed a panel of five judges to consider our appeal of the EC’s 2009 decision in light of the Court of Justice’s clarifications of the law. In November 2017, the parties filed initial “Observations” about the Court of Justice’s decision and the appeal, and were invited by the General Court to offer supplemental comments to each other’s “Observations,” which the parties submitted in March 2018. Responses to other questions posed by the General Court were filed in May and June 2018. The General Court has scheduled oral argument for March 2020. Pending the final decision in this matter, the fine paid by Intel has been placed by the EC in commercial bank accounts where it accrues interest.
Litigation Related to Security Vulnerabilities
In June 2017, a Google research team notified us and other companies that it had identified security vulnerabilities (now commonly referred to as “Spectre” and “Meltdown”) that affect many types of microprocessors, including our products. As is standard when findings like these are presented, we worked together with other companies in the industry to verify the research, and develop and validate software and firmware updates for impacted technologies. On January 3, 2018, information on the security vulnerabilities was publicly reported, before software and firmware updates to address the vulnerabilities were made widely available. Numerous lawsuits relating to the Spectre and Meltdown security vulnerabilities, as well as another variant of these vulnerabilities (“Foreshadow”) that has since been identified, have been filed against Intel and, in certain cases, our current and former executives and directors, in U.S. federal and state courts and in certain courts in other countries.
As of January 22, 2020, consumer class action lawsuits relating to certain security vulnerabilities publicly disclosed in 2018 were pending in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. The plaintiffs, who purport to represent various classes of purchasers of our products, generally claim to have been harmed by Intel's actions and/or omissions in connection with the security vulnerabilities and assert a variety of common law and statutory claims seeking monetary damages and equitable relief. In the U.S., numerous individual class action suits filed in various jurisdictions were consolidated in April 2018 for all pretrial proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon. Intel filed a motion to dismiss that consolidated action in October 2018, and a hearing on that motion was held in February 2019. In Canada, in one case pending in the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario, an initial status conference has not yet been scheduled. In a second case pending in the Superior Court of Justice of Quebec, the court has stayed the case until April 2020. In Israel, both consumer class action lawsuits were filed in the District Court of Haifa. In the first case, the District Court denied the parties' joint motion to stay filed in January 2019, but to date has deferred Intel's deadline to respond to the complaint in view of Intel's pending motion to dismiss in the consolidated proceeding in the U.S. Intel filed a motion to stay the second case pending resolution of the consolidated proceeding in the U.S., and a hearing on that motion has been scheduled for May 2020. Additional lawsuits and claims may be asserted seeking monetary damages or other related relief. We dispute the pending claims described above and intend to defend those lawsuits vigorously. Given the procedural posture and the nature of those cases, including that the pending proceedings are in the early stages, that alleged damages have not been specified, that uncertainty exists as to the likelihood of a class or classes being certified or the ultimate size of any class or classes if certified, and that there are significant factual and legal issues to be resolved, we are unable to make a reasonable estimate of the potential loss or range of losses, if any, that might arise from those matters.
In addition to these lawsuits, Intel stockholders have filed multiple shareholder derivative lawsuits since January 2018 against certain current and former members of our Board of Directors and certain current and former officers, alleging that the defendants breached their duties to Intel in connection with the disclosure of the security vulnerabilities and the failure to take action in relation to alleged insider trading. The complaints seek to recover damages from the defendants on behalf of Intel. Some of the derivative actions were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and were consolidated, and the others were filed in the Superior Court of the State of California in San Mateo County and were consolidated. The federal court granted defendants' motion to dismiss the consolidated complaint in the federal action in August 2018 on the ground that plaintiffs failed to plead facts sufficient to show they were excused from making a pre-lawsuit demand on the Board. The federal court granted plaintiffs leave to amend their complaint, but subsequently dismissed the cases without prejudice in January 2019 at plaintiffs' request. In August 2018, the California Superior Court granted defendants' motion to dismiss the consolidated complaint in the state court action on the ground that plaintiffs failed to plead facts sufficient to show they were excused from making a pre-lawsuit demand on the Board, but granted plaintiffs leave to amend. In July 2019, the California Superior Court dismissed plaintiffs' amended complaint on the same grounds as the previous complaint, but again granted plaintiffs leave to amend. In November 2019, the California Superior Court dismissed plaintiffs' second amended complaint on the same grounds as the two previous complaints, but again granted plaintiffs leave to amend. Defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiffs' third amended complaint is scheduled for hearing in March 2020.