|9 Months Ended|
Sep. 25, 2021
|Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]|
We are a party to various legal proceedings, including those noted in this section. In the first quarter of 2021, we accrued a charge of $2.2 billion related to litigation involving VLSI, described below. Excluding this charge, 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; however, 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 heard oral argument in 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 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 relating to the Spectre and Meltdown security vulnerabilities, as well as other variants of these vulnerabilities that have since been identified.
As of October 20, 2021, consumer class action lawsuits relating to the above class of security vulnerabilities publicly disclosed since 2018 were pending in the United States, 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 United States, 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. In March 2020, the court granted Intel's motion to dismiss the complaint in that consolidated action but granted plaintiffs leave to amend. In March 2021, the court granted Intel’s motion to dismiss the amended complaint, but granted plaintiffs leave to further amend in part. Plaintiffs filed a further amended complaint in May 2021 which Intel moved to dismiss in July 2021. 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, a stay of the case is in effect until December 2021. In Israel, two consumer class action lawsuits were filed in the District Court of Haifa. The plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the first lawsuit in July 2021. Intel filed a motion to stay the second case pending resolution of the consolidated proceeding in the United States, and a hearing on that motion has been scheduled for April 2022. 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 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 sought 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 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 in January 2019 at plaintiffs' request. The California Superior Court entered judgment in defendants' favor in August 2020 after granting defendants' motions to dismiss plaintiffs' consolidated complaint and three successive amended complaints, all for failure to plead facts sufficient to show plaintiffs were excused from making pre-lawsuit demand on the Board. Plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal of the California court's judgment in October 2020.
In January 2021, another Intel stockholder filed a derivative lawsuit in the Superior Court in San Mateo County against certain current and former officers and members of our Board of Directors. The lawsuit asserts claims similar to those dismissed in August 2020, except that it alleges that the stockholder made a pre-lawsuit demand on our Board of Directors and that the demand was wrongfully refused. In May 2021, the court granted defendants' motion to stay the action pending the outcome of any litigation plaintiff may choose to file in Delaware where Intel’s bylaws require such claims be filed.
Institute of Microelectronics, Chinese Academy of Sciences v. Intel China, Ltd., et al.
In February 2018, the Institute of Microelectronics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (IMECAS) sued Intel China, Ltd., Dell China, Ltd. (Dell), and Beijing JingDong Century Information Technology, Ltd. (JD) for patent infringement in the Beijing Higher People's Court. IMECAS alleges that Intel’s Core series processors infringe Chinese patent CN 102956457 (’457 Patent). The complaint demands an injunction and damages of at least RMB 200 million plus the cost of litigation. In March 2018, Dell tendered indemnity to Intel, which Intel granted in April 2018. JD also tendered indemnity to Intel, which Intel granted in October 2018. The Beijing Higher People’s Court held a final trial hearing in September 2021. No ruling has been issued. In March 2018, Intel filed an invalidation request on the ‘457 patent with the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA). The CNIPA held an oral hearing in September 2018 and in February 2019 upheld the validity of the challenged claims. Intel filed a complaint in April 2019 with the Beijing Intellectual Property Court challenging the February 2019 CNIPA ruling, and the Beijing IP Court held oral arguments in July 2021. In January 2020, Intel filed a second invalidation request on the ‘457 patent with the CNIPA, for which the CNIPA heard oral argument in July 2020 and in November 2020 held the challenged apparatus claims invalid. IMECAS filed a complaint in February 2021 with the Beijing IP Court challenging the November 2020 CNIPA ruling. In December 2020, Intel filed a third invalidation request on the ’457 patent with the CNIPA, which heard oral argument in June 2021 and issued a ruling in September 2021 holding the challenged claims not invalid. In September 2018 and March 2019, Intel filed petitions with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) requesting institution of inter partes review (IPR) of U.S. Patent No. 9,070,719, the U.S. counterpart to the ‘457 patent. The USPTO denied institution of Intel’s petitions in March and October 2019, respectively. In April 2019, Intel filed a request for rehearing and a petition for a Precedential Opinion Panel (POP) in the USPTO to challenge the denial of its first IPR petition, and in November 2019 Intel filed a request for rehearing on the second IPR petition. In January 2020, the USPTO denied the POP petition on the first IPR petition. In June 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board denied Intel's rehearing requests on both petitions.
In October 2019, IMECAS filed second and third lawsuits, in the Beijing IP Court, alleging infringement of Chinese Patent No. CN 102386226 (‘226 Patent) based on the manufacturing and sale of Intel’s Core i3 microprocessors. Defendants in the second case are Lenovo (Beijing) Co., Ltd. (Lenovo) and Beijing Jiayun Huitong Technology Development Co. Ltd. (BJHT). Defendants in the third case are Intel Corp., Intel China Co., Ltd., the Intel China Beijing Branch, Beijing Digital China Co., Ltd. (Digital China), and JD. Both complaints demand injunctions plus litigation costs. The complaint in the second lawsuit reserves the right to claim damages in unspecified amounts. The complaint in the third lawsuit claims damages of RMB 10 million. Intel China's jurisdictional challenge was denied in June 2021. No trial proceedings have occurred or are yet scheduled in these lawsuits. In December 2019, Lenovo tendered indemnity to Intel, which Intel granted in March 2020. In July 2020, Intel and Lenovo filed invalidation requests on the '226 patent with the CNIPA. The CNIPA heard oral argument in December 2020, during which IMECAS proposed amendments to two claims. The CNIPA ruled in April 2021 on both invalidation requests, finding the two amended claims as well as the unamended claims not invalid. Intel and Lenovo filed complaints in July 2021 with the Beijing IP Court challenging the April 2021 CNIPA rulings.
Given the procedural posture and the nature of these cases, the unspecified nature and extent of damages claimed by IMECAS, and uncertainty regarding the availability of injunctive relief under applicable law, we are unable to make a reasonable estimate of the potential loss or range of losses, if any, arising from these matters. We dispute IMECAS’s claims and intend to vigorously defend against them.
VLSI Technology LLC v. Intel
In October 2017, VLSI filed a complaint against Intel in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California alleging infringement of eight patents acquired from NXP Semiconductors, N.V. (NXP). The patents, which originated at Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. and NXP B.V., are U.S. Patent Nos. 7,268,588; 7,675,806; 7,706,207; 7,709,303; 8,004,922; 8,020,014; 8,268,672; and 8,566,836. VLSI accuses various FPGA and processor products of infringement. VLSI estimated its damages to be as high as $7.1 billion, and its complaint further sought enhanced damages, future royalties, attorneys’ fees, costs, and interest. In May, June, September, and October 2018, Intel filed IPR petitions challenging the patentability of certain claims in all eight of the patents in-suit. The PTAB instituted review of six patents and denied institution on two patents. As a result of the institution decisions, the parties stipulated to stay the District Court action in March 2019. In December 2019 and February 2020, the PTAB found all claims of the '588 and '303 patents, and some claims of the '922 patent, to be unpatentable. The PTAB found the challenged claims of the '014, '672, and '207 patents to be patentable. Intel moved for a continuation of the stay in March 2020 as it appealed certain rulings by the PTAB. In June 2020, the District Court issued an order continuing the stay through August 2021 and setting trial for December 2022. The Federal Circuit has thus far affirmed the PTAB’s decisions as to the ‘207 and ‘672 patents, and reversed the PTAB’s decision as to the ‘014 patent. The court lifted the stay in September 2021.
In June 2018, VLSI filed a second suit against Intel, in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, alleging infringement by various Intel processors of five additional patents acquired from NXP: U.S. Patent Nos. 6,212,663; 7,246,027; 7,247,552; 7,523,331; and 8,081,026. VLSI accused Intel of willful infringement and seeks an injunction or, in the alternative, ongoing royalties, enhanced damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, and interest. In March 2019, the District Court dismissed VLSI’s claims for willful infringement as to all the patents-in-suit except the ‘027 patent, and also dismissed VLSI’s allegations of indirect infringement as to the ‘633, ‘331, and ‘026 patents. In June 2019, Intel filed requests for inter partes review of the patentability of claims in all five patents-in-suit. In January 2020, the District Court vacated an earlier November 2020 trial date based on agreement of the parties; no trial date is currently set. In January 2020, VLSI said that it was no longer asserting any claims of the ‘633 patent. In January and February 2020, the PTAB instituted review of the '552, '633, '331, and '026 patents, but declined to institute review on the '027 patent. As a result, Intel moved for stay of the District Court proceedings. In May 2020, the District Court stayed the case as to the '026 and '552 patents but allowed the case to proceed on the '027 and '331 patents. In January 2021, the PTAB invalidated certain asserted claims of the ‘026 patent, and in February the PTAB invalidated all asserted claims of the ‘552 patent. Intel filed a notice of appeal regarding the PTAB’s decision as to the ‘026 patent in March 2021, and the case remains stayed as to that patent and the '552 patent. For the '027 and '331 patents, VLSI is seeking damages of approximately $4.13 billion plus enhanced damages for the '027 patent. The deadline to file summary judgment motions and challenges to expert witnesses is in January 2022.
In March 2019, VLSI filed a third suit against Intel, also in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, alleging infringement of six more patents acquired from NXP: U.S. Patent Nos. 6,366,522; 6,663,187; 7,292,485; 7,606,983; 7,725,759; and 7,793,025. In April 2019, VLSI voluntarily dismissed this Delaware case without prejudice. In April 2019, VLSI filed three new infringement suits against Intel in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas (WDTX) accusing various Intel processors of infringement. The three suits collectively assert the same six patents from the voluntarily dismissed Delaware case plus two additional patents acquired from NXP, U.S. Patent Nos. 7,523,373 and 8,156,357. VLSI accuses Intel of willful infringement and seeks an injunction or, in the alternative, ongoing royalties, enhanced damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, and interest. In the first Texas case, VLSI asserted the ‘373 and ‘759 patents (in December 2020 the court granted Intel summary judgment of non-infringement on the ‘357 patent, which had also been asserted in the first Texas case). That case went to trial in February 2021, and the jury awarded a “lump sum” to VLSI of $1.5 billion for literal infringement of the ‘373 patent and $675 million for infringement under the doctrine of equivalents of the ‘759 patent. The jury found that Intel had not willfully infringed either patent. Intel plans to challenge the verdict in post-trial motions and on appeal. Intel has challenged the verdict with post-trial motions, including filing in May 2021 a motion for a new trial and a motion for judgment as a matter of law that the ‘373 and ‘759 patents are not infringed and the ‘759 patent is invalid. The court denied the motion for new trial in August 2021, but other post-trial motions, including the motion for judgment as a matter of law, remain pending. If the court does not vacate the verdict Intel will challenge it on appeal.
The second Texas case went to trial in April 2021, and the jury found that Intel does not infringe the ‘522 and ‘187 patents. VLSI had sought approximately $3 billion for alleged infringement of those patents, plus enhanced damages for willful infringement. The third case is scheduled for trial in December 2021, and VLSI seeks approximately $2.2 billion to $2.4 billion for alleged infringement of the ‘983, ‘025 and ‘485 patents, plus enhanced damages for willful infringement. In October and November 2019, and in February 2020, Intel filed IPR petitions on certain asserted claims across six of the patents-in-suit in WDTX. Between May and October 2020, the PTAB denied all of these requests and Intel requested a rehearing, as well as review from the POP as to all petitions. All requests for POP review were denied in October and December 2020, and all requests for rehearing were denied as to all petitions between December 2020 and February 2021. Intel filed notices of appeal regarding the discretionary denials for all petitions in February and March of 2021, and VLSI moved to dismiss those appeals in March 2021. The Court dismissed the appeals in May 2021, and Intel petitioned for hearing en banc in June 2021. The Federal Circuit denied the petition in August 2021.
In May 2019, VLSI filed a case in Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court against Intel, Intel (China) Co., Ltd., Intel Trading (Shanghai) Co., Ltd., and Intel Products (Chengdu) Co., Ltd. VLSI asserts Chinese Patent 201410094015.9 accusing certain Intel Core processors of infringement. VLSI requests an injunction as well as RMB 1 million in damages and RMB 300 thousand in expenses. Defendants filed an invalidation petition in October 2019 with the CNIPA, which held a hearing in September 2021. In May 2020, defendants filed a motion to stay the trial court proceedings pending a determination on invalidity. The court held the first evidentiary hearing in November 2020 and the second in July 2021. The court also held trial proceedings in the hearing in July 2021 and concluded that further trial proceedings were needed but would be stayed pending the outcome of defendants’ invalidity challenge at the CNIPA.
In May 2019, VLSI filed a second case in Shanghai Intellectual Property Court against Intel (China) Co., Ltd., Intel Trading (Shanghai) Co., Ltd., and Intel Products (Chengdu) Co., Ltd. VLSI asserts Chinese Patent 201080024173.7. VLSI accuses certain Intel Core processors and seeks an injunction, as well as RMB 1 million in damages and RMB 300 thousand in expenses. Defendants filed with the CNIPA an invalidation petition in October 2019, and the CNIPA held a hearing in September 2021, but has not yet issued a decision. In June 2020, defendants filed a motion to stay the trial court proceedings pending a determination on invalidity. The court held its first evidentiary hearing in September 2020. The court held a second evidentiary hearing in December 2020, and a trial the same month. At trial, VLSI dropped its monetary damages claim, but still requested expenses (RMB 300 thousand) and an injunction. The court held a second evidentiary hearing in December 2020. The court has not yet issued a decision following the trial. Rather, the court stayed the case in December 2020 pending a determination on invalidity by the CNIPA.
In November 2019, Intel, along with Apple Inc., filed a complaint against Fortress Investment Group LLC, Fortress Credit Co. LLC, Uniloc 2017 LLC, Uniloc USA, Inc., Uniloc Luxembourg S.A.R.L., VLSI, INVT SPE LLC, Inventergy Global, Inc., DSS Technology Management, Inc., IXI IP, LLC, and Seven Networks, LLC. Plaintiffs allege violations of Section 1 of the Sherman Act by certain defendants, Section 7 of the Clayton Act by certain defendants, and California Business and Professions Code section 17200 by all defendants based on defendants' unlawful aggregation of patents. In February 2020, defendants moved to dismiss plaintiffs' complaint. In July 2020, the court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss with leave to amend. The court dismissed antitrust claims related to two DSS patents with prejudice. The plaintiffs filed an amended complaint in August 2020, and defendants moved to dismiss in September 2020. The court heard defendants' motion to dismiss the amended complaint in December 2020 and dismissed plaintiffs’ amended complaint in January 2021, with leave to further amend. In December 2020, the court granted a joint motion by Apple and Seven Networks to dismiss with prejudice Apple’s claims against Seven Networks. Plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint in March 2021. Defendants moved to dismiss the Second Amended Complaint in May 2021. Apple withdrew from the case and dismissed its claims in June 2021. The court heard defendants’ motion to dismiss the Second Amended Complaint in September 2021, and dismissed Intel’s claims with prejudice that same month, entering judgment in favor of defendants.
In June 2020, affiliates controlled by Fortress Investment Group, which also controls VLSI, acquired Finjan Holdings, Inc. Intel had signed a “Settlement, Release and Patent License Agreement” with Finjan in 2012, acquiring a license to the patents of Finjan and its affiliates, current or future, through a capture period of November 20, 2022. The agreement also contains covenants wherein Finjan agrees to cause its affiliates to comply with the agreement. As such, Intel maintains that it now has a license to the patents of VLSI, which has become a Finjan affiliate, and that Finjan must cause VLSI to dismiss its suits against Intel. In August 2020, Intel started dispute resolution proceedings under the agreement. As a part of this dispute resolution process, Intel and Finjan held a mediation in December 2020, but failed to resolve their differences. Intel filed suit to enforce its rights under the License Agreement with Finjan in January 2021 in Delaware Chancery Court. In March 2021, defendants filed motions to dismiss the Chancery Court proceedings. The court heard those motions in May 2021, and dismissed all of Intel’s claims—except the breach of contract claim—with prejudice in September 2021 for lack of jurisdiction because, the court reasoned, Intel’s license defense has been raised in the other U.S. suits between Intel and VLSI and could be adjudicated in one of those actions. The court stayed Intel’s breach of contract claim pending a determination on whether Intel is licensed to VLSI’s patents. In September 2020, Intel filed motions to stay the Texas, Delaware, and Shanghai matters pending resolution of its dispute with Finjan. In November 2020, Intel filed a motion to stay the Shenzhen matter pending resolution of its dispute with Finjan. In November 2020, the Delaware court denied Intel’s motion to stay. The other stay motions remain pending. Finally, Intel filed a motion to amend its answer in the Texas matters to add a license defense in November 2020, and filed a motion to amend its answer in the Delaware matter to add a license defense in February 2021. The Texas court has not yet ruled on Intel’s motion to amend, but the Delaware court granted Intel’s motion in July 2021.
After consideration of the verdicts in the WDTX cases and the additional pending lawsuits filed by VLSI, Intel accrued a charge of $2.2 billion in the first quarter of 2021. We dispute VLSI’s claims and intend to vigorously defend against them.
Litigation Related to 7nm Product Delay Announcement
Starting in July 2020, five securities class action lawsuits were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against Intel and certain current and former officers based on Intel’s July 2020 announcement of 7nm product delays. The plaintiffs, who purport to represent classes of acquirers of Intel stock between October 2019 and July 2020, generally allege that the defendants violated securities laws by making false or misleading statements about the timeline for 7nm products in light of subsequently announced delays. In October 2020, the court consolidated the lawsuits and appointed lead plaintiffs, and in January 2021 the lead plaintiffs filed a consolidated complaint. Defendants moved to dismiss the consolidated complaint in March 2021. We dispute the claims described above and intend to defend the 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 July 2021, Intel introduced a new process node naming structure, and the 7nm process is now Intel 4.
The entire disclosure for loss and gain contingencies. Describes any existing condition, situation, or set of circumstances involving uncertainty as of the balance sheet date (or prior to issuance of the financial statements) as to a probable or reasonably possible loss incurred by an entity that will ultimately be resolved when one or more future events occur or fail to occur, and typically discloses the amount of loss recorded or a range of possible loss, or an assertion that no reasonable estimate can be made.
Reference 1: http://fasb.org/us-gaap/role/ref/legacyRef