|6 Months Ended|
Jul. 02, 2011
Note 26: Contingencies
We are currently a party to various legal proceedings, including those noted in this section. While management presently believes that the ultimate outcome of these proceedings, individually and in the aggregate, will not materially harm the company's financial position, cash flows, or overall trends in results of operations, 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, and in matters for which injunctive relief or other conduct remedies are sought, 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 such as compulsory licensing of intellectual property. Were unfavorable final outcomes to occur, there exists the possibility of a material adverse impact on our business, results of operations, financial position, and overall trends. It is also possible that we could conclude it is in the best interests of our stockholders, employees, and customers to settle one or more such matters, and any such settlement could include substantial payments; however, we have not reached this conclusion with respect to any particular matter at this time.
A number of proceedings generally have challenged and continue to challenge certain of our competitive practices. The allegations in these proceedings vary and are described in more detail in the following paragraphs, but in general contend that we improperly condition price rebates and other discounts on our microprocessors on exclusive or near-exclusive dealing by some of our customers; claim that our software compiler business unfairly prefers Intel microprocessors over competing microprocessors and that, through the use of our compiler and other means, we have caused inaccurate and misleading benchmark results concerning our microprocessors to be disseminated; allege that we unfairly controlled the content and timing of release of various standard computer interfaces developed by Intel in cooperation with other industry participants; and accuse us of engaging in various acts of improper competitive activity in competing against what is referred to as general-purpose graphics processing units, including certain licensing practices and our actions in connection with developing and disclosing potentially competitive technology.
We believe that we compete lawfully and that our marketing, business, intellectual property, and other challenged practices benefit our customers and our stockholders, and we will continue to conduct a vigorous defense in these proceedings. While we have settled some of these matters, the distractions caused by challenges to these practices from the remaining matters are undesirable, and the legal and other costs associated with defending and resolving our position have been and continue to be significant. We assume that these challenges could continue for a number of years and may require the investment of substantial additional management time and substantial financial resources to explain and defend our position.
Government Competition Matters and Related Consumer Class Actions
In 2001, the European Commission (EC) commenced an investigation regarding claims by Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) that we used unfair business practices to persuade clients to buy our microprocessors. Since that time, we have received numerous requests for information and documents from the EC, and we have 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 €1.06 billion ($1.447 billion as of May 2009), which we subsequently paid during the third quarter of 2009, and also ordered us to “immediately bring to an end the infringement referred to in” the EC decision. In the second quarter of 2009, we recorded the related charge within marketing, general and administrative. We strongly disagree with the EC's decision, and we appealed the decision to the Court of First Instance (which has been renamed the General Court) in July 2009. The EC filed an answer to our reply brief in November 2010. The court's decision, after oral argument, is expected in late 2012 or early 2013.
The EC decision exceeds 500 pages and does not contain specific direction on whether or how we should modify our business practices. Instead, the decision states that we should “cease and desist” from further conduct that, in the EC's opinion, would violate applicable law. We have taken steps, which are subject to the EC's ongoing review, to comply with that decision pending appeal. We opened discussions with the EC to better understand the decision and to explain changes to our business practices. Based on our current understanding and expectations, we do not believe that any such changes will be material to our financial position, results, or cash flows.
In June 2005, we received an inquiry from the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) requesting documents from our Korean subsidiary related to marketing and rebate programs that we entered into with Korean PC manufacturers. In February 2006, the KFTC initiated an inspection of documents at our offices in Korea. In September 2007, the KFTC served on us an Examination Report alleging that sales to two customers during parts of 2002–2005 violated Korea's Monopoly Regulation and Fair Trade Act. In December 2007, we submitted our written response to the KFTC. In February 2008, the KFTC's examiner submitted a written reply to our response. In March 2008, we submitted a further response. In April 2008, we participated in a pre-hearing conference before the KFTC, and we participated in formal hearings in May and June 2008. In June 2008, the KFTC announced its intent to fine us approximately $25 million for providing discounts to Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. and TriGem Computer Inc. In November 2008, the KFTC issued a final written decision concluding that our discounts had violated Korean antitrust law and imposing a fine on us of approximately $20 million, which we paid in January 2009. In December 2008, we appealed this decision by filing a lawsuit in the Seoul High Court seeking to overturn the KFTC's decision. We expect a decision from the court in 2011.
In November 2009, the State of New York filed a lawsuit against us in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware. The lawsuit alleges that we violated federal antitrust laws; the New York Donnelly Act, which prohibits contracts or agreements to monopolize; and the New York Executive Law, which proscribes underlying violations of federal and state antitrust laws. The lawsuit alleges that we engaged in a systematic worldwide campaign of illegal, exclusionary conduct to maintain monopoly power and prices in the market for x86 microprocessors through the use of various alleged actions, including exclusive or near-exclusive agreements from large computer makers in exchange for “loyalty payments” and “bribes,” and other alleged threats and retaliation. The plaintiff claims that our alleged actions harmed consumers, competition, and innovation. The lawsuit seeks a declaration that our alleged actions have violated the federal and New York antitrust laws and the New York Executive Law; an injunction to prevent further alleged unlawful acts; unspecified damages in an amount to be proven at trial, trebled as provided for by law, restitution, and disgorgement; $1 million for each violation of the Donnelly Act proven by the plaintiff, and attorneys' fees and costs. We disagree with the State of New York's allegations and claims and we intend to conduct a vigorous defense of the lawsuit. We filed our answer in January 2010, and the court has scheduled trial to begin in this matter in February 2012.
In December 2010, the State of New York requested the court's permission to amend its complaint to expand the scope of parties covered by its Donnelly Act and Executive Law claims. We opposed that request, and in May 2011, the court denied the State of New York permission to amend its complaint. In May 2011, we filed three motions, the first seeking partial summary judgment on the ground that the statute of limitations is four years on the plaintiff's federal antitrust claim and three years on its Donnelly Act and Executive Law claims, the second seeking dismissal of all claims brought on behalf of non-State of New York public entities on the ground that the State of New York did not obtain proper consent to represent them, and the third seeking judgment on the pleadings on the ground that the State of New York cannot recover damages on behalf of New York consumers for certain claims. We anticipate filing additional motions that could impact some or all of the State of New York's claims. Because fact and expert discovery are continuing and resolution of the motions may materially impact the scope and nature of plaintiff's claims, we are unable to make a reasonable estimate of the potential loss or range of losses, if any, arising from this litigation.
At least 82 separate class actions have been filed in the U.S. District Courts for the Northern District of California, Southern District of California, District of Idaho, District of Nebraska, District of New Mexico, District of Maine, and District of Delaware, as well as in various California, Kansas, and Tennessee state courts. These actions generally repeat the allegations made in a now-settled lawsuit filed against Intel by AMD in June 2005 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware (AMD litigation). Like the AMD litigation, these class-action suits allege that Intel engaged in various actions in violation of the Sherman Act and other laws by, among other things, providing discounts and rebates to our manufacturer and distributor customers conditioned on exclusive or near exclusive dealings that allegedly unfairly interfered with AMD's ability to sell its microprocessors, interfering with certain AMD product launches, and interfering with AMD's participation in certain industry standards-setting groups. The class actions allege various consumer injuries, including that consumers in various states have been injured by paying higher prices for computers containing our microprocessors. We dispute the class-action claims and intend to defend the lawsuits vigorously.
All of the federal class actions and the Kansas and Tennessee state court class actions have been transferred by the Multidistrict Litigation Panel to the U.S. District Court in Delaware for all pretrial proceedings and discovery (MDL proceedings). The Delaware district court has appointed a Special Master to address issues in the MDL proceedings, as assigned by the court. In January 2010, the plaintiffs in the Delaware action filed a motion for sanctions for our alleged failure to preserve evidence. This motion largely copies a motion previously filed by AMD in the AMD litigation, which has settled. The plaintiffs in the MDL proceedings also moved for certification of a class of members who purchased certain personal computers containing products sold by Intel. In July 2010, the Special Master issued a Report and Recommendation (Class Report) denying the motion to certify a class. The MDL plaintiffs filed objections to the Special Master's Class Report, and a hearing on these objections was held in March 2011. The Delaware district court has not yet ruled on those objections. All California class actions have been consolidated in the Superior Court of California in Santa Clara County. The plaintiffs in the California actions have moved for class certification, which we are in the process of opposing. At our request, the court in the California actions has agreed to delay ruling on this motion until after the Delaware district court rules on the similar motion in the MDL proceedings. Based on the procedural posture and the nature of the cases, including, but not limited to, the fact that the Special Master's Class Report is on review in the Delaware district court, we are unable to make a reasonable estimate of the potential loss or range of losses, if any, arising from these matters.
In November 2009, representatives of the Lehman Brothers OTC Derivatives Inc. (LOTC) bankruptcy estate advised us informally that the estate was considering a claim against us arising from a 2008 contract between Intel and LOTC. Under the terms of the 2008 contract, Intel prepaid $1.0 billion to LOTC, in exchange for which LOTC was required to purchase and deliver to Intel the number of shares of Intel common stock that could be purchased for $1.0 billion at the discounted volume-weighted average price specified in the contract for the period September 2, 2008 to September 26, 2008. LOTC's performance under the contract was secured by $1.0 billion of cash collateral. Under the terms of the contract, LOTC was obligated to deliver approximately 50 million shares of our common stock to us on September 29, 2008. LOTC failed to deliver any shares of our common stock, and we exercised our right to setoff against the $1.0 billion collateral. LOTC has not initiated any action against us to date, but in February 2010, LOTC served a subpoena on us in connection with this transaction. In October 2010, LOTC demanded that Intel pay it at least $417 million. In September 2010, we entered into an agreement with LOTC that tolled any applicable statutes of limitations for 90 days and precluded the parties from commencing any formal proceedings to prosecute any claims against each other in any forum during that period. The tolling agreement with LOTC was extended several times, but lapsed in June 2011. We continue to believe that we acted appropriately under our agreement with LOTC, and we intend to defend any claim to the contrary. No complaint has been filed and we are in the early stages of evaluating this dispute, and accordingly are unable to make a reasonable estimate of the potential loss or range of losses, if any, arising from this matter.
Frank T. Shum v. Intel Corporation, Jean-Marc Verdiell, and LightLogic, Inc.
We acquired LightLogic, Inc. in May 2001. Frank Shum subsequently sued us, LightLogic, and LightLogic's founder, Jean-Marc Verdiell, claiming that much of LightLogic's intellectual property is based on alleged inventions that Shum conceived while he and Verdiell were partners at Radiance Design, Inc. Shum has alleged claims for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, fraudulent concealment, and breach of contract. Shum also seeks alleged correction of inventorship of seven patents acquired by us as part of the LightLogic acquisition. In January 2005, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California denied Shum's inventorship claim, and thereafter granted our motion for summary judgment on Shum's remaining claims. In August 2007, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit vacated the District Court's rulings and remanded the case for further proceedings. In October 2008, the District Court granted our motion for summary judgment on Shum's claims for breach of fiduciary duty and fraudulent concealment, but denied our motion on Shum's remaining claims. A jury trial on Shum's remaining claims took place in November and December 2008. In pre-trial proceedings and at trial, Shum requested monetary damages against the defendants in amounts ranging from $31 million to $931 million, and his final request to the jury was for as much as $175 million. Following deliberations, the jury was unable to reach a verdict on most of the claims. With respect to Shum's claim that he is the proper inventor on certain LightLogic patents now assigned to us, the jury agreed with Shum on some of those claims and was unable to reach a verdict regarding the remaining claims. In April 2009, the court granted defendants' motions for judgment as a matter of law. Shum appealed that ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which heard oral arguments in August 2010 and affirmed the trial court's orders in favor of Intel in December 2010. In January 2011, Shum petitioned the Federal Circuit for a re-hearing and re-hearing en banc. In February 2011, the Federal Circuit denied Shum's request. Shum petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for review in May 2011, and we are preparing our response. We will continue to defend the lawsuit vigorously.