|9 Months Ended
Oct. 01, 2022
|Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]
In the third quarter of 2022, we signed a definitive agreement with Brookfield Asset Management (Brookfield). This arrangement represents an equity partnership whereby we and Brookfield own 51% and 49%, respectively, of what will be a newly-formed entity, Arizona Fab LLC (Arizona Fab), which we will fully consolidate into our consolidated financial statements. We expect Arizona Fab to spend up to $30.0 billion of investments in expanded manufacturing infrastructure at our Ocotillo campus in Chandler, Arizona. Generally, contributions will be made to, and distributions will be received from, Arizona Fab based upon our and Brookfield’s proportional ownership, subject to the terms and conditions within the definitive agreement. The definitive agreement includes provisions that require us to utilize Arizona Fab’s expanded manufacturing capacity at specified minimum levels or be subject to penalties. Brookfield’s ownership stake as a non-controlling interest holder in Arizona Fab will be shown as a separate component of equity within our consolidated balance sheet. The transaction with Brookfield is expected to close by the end of 2022, subject to customary closing conditions.
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 European Commission (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. 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.
We appealed the EC decision to the Court of First Instance (which has been renamed the General Court) in July 2009. 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 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 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, and in January 2022, the General Court issued a decision annulling the EC's findings against Intel regarding rebates as well as the fine imposed on Intel, which was returned to Intel in February 2022. In April 2022, the EC appealed the General Court's decision to the Court of Justice, seeking an order that would require a further proceeding and decision by the General Court. In June 2022, Intel filed a response in opposition to the EC appeal, and in July 2022, the Intervener Association for Competitive Technologies filed a response in opposition to the EC appeal. Given the procedural posture and the nature of this proceeding we are unable to make a reasonable estimate of the potential loss or range of losses, if any, that might arise from this matter.
In a related matter, Intel filed applications with the General Court in April 2022 seeking an order requiring the EC to pay Intel approximately €593 million in default interest.
Litigation Related to Security Vulnerabilities
In June 2017, a Google research team notified Intel 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 2, 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 relating to Spectre, Meltdown, and other variants of the security vulnerabilities that have been identified since 2018. As of October 26, 2022, consumer class action lawsuits against Intel were pending in the United States, Canada, Israel, and Argentina. 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, class action suits filed in various jurisdictions were consolidated for all pretrial proceedings in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon, which entered final judgment in favor of Intel in July 2022 based on plaintiffs' failure to plead a viable claim. Plaintiffs have appealed that decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In Canada, an initial status conference has not yet been scheduled in one case pending in the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario, and a stay of a second case pending in the Superior Court of Justice of Quebec is in effect until November 2022. In Israel, the plaintiff in a lawsuit pending in the District Court of Haifa advised the court in September 2022 that it intends to seek leave in October 2022 to withdraw its motion for class certification and voluntarily dismiss the action. In Argentina, Intel Argentina was served with, and responded to, a class action complaint in June 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.
VLSI Technology LLC v. Intel
In October 2017, VLSI Technology LLC (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 at least $5.5 billion, and its complaint further sought enhanced damages, future royalties, attorneys’ fees, and costs and interest. In May, June, September, and October 2018, Intel filed Inter Partes Review (IPR) petitions challenging the patentability of claims in all eight of the patents in-suit. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (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 appealed the PTAB's decision as to '014, '672 and '207 patents. The Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB's decision as to the '672 and '207 patents, but reversed and remanded as to the '014 patent. Intel moved for a continuation of the stay in March 2020 pending the appeal. In June 2020, the District Court issued an order continuing the stay through August 2021. The court lifted the stay in September 2021, and scheduled a trial for March 2024.
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 IPR petitions challenging the patentability of certain claims in all five patents-in-suit. 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, 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. Both parties filed notices of appeal regarding the PTAB’s decision as to the ‘026 patent in March 2021, and in April 2021, VLSI filed a notice of appeal of the PTAB's decision as to the '552 patent. The case remains stayed as to both of those patents. For the '027 and '331 patents, VLSI is seeking damages of approximately $4.13 billion plus enhanced damages for the '027 patent. The parties have completed summary judgment and expert witness testimony briefing.
In June 2022, the court granted in part and denied in part Intel’s motion to exclude testimony of VLSI’s technical expert, barring him from testifying regarding Intel’s purported litigation misconduct and the alleged benefits of certain claims of the ‘027 patent. In August 2022, the court stayed the case in light of VLSI's failure to fully disclose its investors pursuant to the court's standing order.
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 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 challenged the verdict with post-trial motions, including filing in May 2021 a motion for a new trial, which the court denied in August, a motion for judgment as a matter of law that the ‘373 and ‘759 patents are not infringed and the ‘759 patent is invalid, and a motion that VLSI is entitled to no damages, both of which the court denied in March 2022. In April 2022, the court entered final judgment and awarded VLSI $2.175 billion in damages, approximately $162.3 million in pre-judgment interest, and post-judgment interest at the Treasury Bill rate, compounded annually. Intel filed its opening appellate brief in September 2022.
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 $3.0 billion for alleged infringement of those patents, plus enhanced damages for willful infringement. The court has not yet entered final judgment following second trial in Texas.
The third Texas case was set for trial in April 2022 but was cancelled after the first day due to a COVID-19 outbreak. A new trial date has been set for November 2022. In that case, VLSI initially sought approximately $2.2 - $2.4 billion for alleged infringement of the ‘983, ‘025 and ‘485 patents, plus enhanced damages for willful infringement. In April 2022, VLSI informed the court that it would not present an infringement case at trial for the '025 patent. Later in April 2022, VLSI informed the court that it would not present willful infringement or an infringement case for the '485 patent at trial. This limits VLSI's damages demand to approximately $1.0 billion for the alleged infringement of the remaining '983 patent.
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. The CNIPA has not yet issued a decision. 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 indicated those would be stayed pending the outcome of defendants’ invalidity challenge at the CNIPA. In July 2021, VLSI dismissed its case, but refiled it in August 2021. VLSI seeks an injunction in its newly filed case, as well as RMB 1.3 million in reasonable costs and expenses, but no damages. In November 2021, Intel moved for a stay of the August 2021 action pending a ruling on invalidity. The court has not yet ruled on that motion.
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 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 March 2022, the CNIPA issued an order holding the claims of the patent to be valid. The court held a second trial in May 2022 following the CNIPA ruling, but has yet to issue its final decision.
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 2020 and 2021, the court twice dismissed plaintiffs' complaint with leave to 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. Intel filed a notice of appeal in December 2021. Appellate briefing concluded in June 2022 and oral argument was held in October 2022.
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 Delaware Court granted Intel's motion in July 2021, but in March 2022, the Texas Court denied Intel's motion, holding, among other things, that it would be futile for Intel to add the license defense as it would not be meritorious. Intel has appealed this ruling as a part of its appeal of the verdict in the first VLSI Texas trial.
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 petitions on a discretionary basis and without reviewing the merits. Intel requested a rehearing, and review from the POP as to all petitions. All requests for POP review and rehearing were denied. Intel filed notices of appeal regarding the discretionary denials for all petitions in February and March of 2021. The Federal Circuit dismissed the appeals in May 2021 for lack of jurisdiction. The Federal Circuit denied Intel’s petition for hearing en banc in August 2021. In March 2022, the Supreme Court denied Intel’s petition for writ of certiorari.
In June 2021, OpenSky Industries LLC (OpenSky) requested IPR of certain claims of the '373 and '759 patents at-issue in the first Texas case, including those claims found to be infringed in that judgment. Both petitions copied Intel's earlier petitions, and used the expert declarations previously submitted by Intel. Another entity named Patent Quality Assurance LLC (PQA) also petitioned for IPR of certain claims of the '373 patent, those claims found to be infringed in the first Texas case judgment. PQA also largely copied Intel's petition, but (1) added a challenge to an additional claim and (2) included newly signed declarations from Intel's experts. In December 2021, the PTAB instituted OpenSky's petition on the '759 patent, but declined to institute on the '373 patent. In December 2021, Intel filed a motion to join OpenSky's '759 IPR. In January 2022, the PTAB instituted PQA's petition on the '373 patent. In February, Intel filed a motion to join PQA's petition. Both of Intel's joinder motions were granted in June 2022, allowing Intel to participate in the IPRs. Hearings were held in September 2022 for the OpenSky petition and in October 2022 for the PQA petition. PTAB decisions are expected in December 2022 on the '759 patent, and January 2023 on the '373 patent. At the same time, the Director of the United States Patent & Trademark Office is reviewing both the OpenSky and PQA IPRs to determine if they should be allowed to proceed to final written decisions. The Director has said that that process may delay the final written decision of the '759 patent IPR, but has not made any similar statement regarding the timeline for the '373 patent IPR.
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 and anticipates losses, if any, in excess of this amount would be immaterial to the financial statements. 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 United States 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, 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.