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UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, DC 20549
Form 10-K
 ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020
OR
 TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
  
For the transition period from          to          

Commission file number 1-33579
INTERDIGITAL, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Pennsylvania 82-4936666
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization) (IRS Employer Identification No.)
200 Bellevue Parkway, Suite 300, Wilmington, DE 19809-3727
(Address of Principal Executive Offices and Zip Code)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code (302) 281-3600
_____________________________________________
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each classTrading Symbol(s)Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock (par value $0.01 per share) IDCCNASDAQ Stock Market LLC
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
____________________________________________
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.  Yes     No 
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.  Yes     No 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.  Yes    No 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).  Yes      No 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filerAccelerated filer
Non-accelerated filerSmaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.  Yes      No 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).  Yes   No
The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates computed by reference to the price at which the common equity was last sold, or the average bid and asked price of such common equity, as of the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter: $1,730,267,697 as of June 30, 2020.
The number of shares outstanding of the registrant’s common stock was 30,828,895 as of February 16, 2021.


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DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the registrant's definitive proxy statement to be filed pursuant to Regulation 14A in connection with the registrant's 2021 annual meeting of shareholders are incorporated by reference into Items 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 of Part III of this Form 10-K.



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__________
In this Form 10-K, the words “we,” “our,” “us,” “the Company” and “InterDigital” refer to InterDigital, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries, individually and/or collectively, unless otherwise indicated or the context otherwise requires. InterDigital® is a registered trademark of InterDigital, Inc. All other trademarks, service marks and/or trade names appearing in this Form 10-K are the property of their respective holders.
3


EXPLANATORY NOTE ABOUT INTERDIGITAL, INC.
On April 3, 2018, for the purpose of reorganizing its holding company structure, InterDigital, Inc., a Pennsylvania corporation and then-existing NASDAQ-listed registrant (the “Predecessor Company”), executed an Agreement and Plan of Merger (“Merger Agreement”) with InterDigital Parent, Inc., a Pennsylvania corporation (the “Successor Company”) 100% owned by the Predecessor Company, and another newly formed Pennsylvania corporation owned 100% by the Successor Company (“Merger Sub”). Pursuant to the Merger Agreement, on April 3, 2018, Merger Sub merged (the “Merger” or “Reorganization”) with and into the Predecessor Company, with the Predecessor Company surviving. As a result of the Merger, the Predecessor Company is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Successor Company. Neither the business conducted by the Successor Company and the Predecessor Company in the aggregate, nor the consolidated assets and liabilities of the Successor Company and the Predecessor Company in the aggregate, changed as a result of the Reorganization. By virtue of the Merger, each share of the Predecessor Company’s outstanding common stock was converted, on a share-for-share basis, into a share of common stock of the Successor Company. As a result, each shareholder of the Predecessor Company became the owner of an identical number of shares of common stock of the Successor Company. Immediately following the Reorganization, the Successor Company was renamed as “InterDigital, Inc.,” identical to the Predecessor Company’s name prior to the Merger. The Successor Company’s common stock continues to be traded under the name “InterDigital, Inc.” and continues to be listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol “IDCC.” In addition, immediately following the Merger the directors and executive officers of the Successor Company were the same individuals who were directors and executive officers, respectively, of the Predecessor Company immediately prior to the Merger.
For the purpose of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, references to the Company, our Board of Directors or any committee thereof, or our management, employees, business or financial results at or for any period prior to the Merger refer to those of the Predecessor Company and thereafter to those of the Successor Company.

4

Table of Contents
PART I

Item 1.     BUSINESS.
Overview
InterDigital, Inc. ("InterDigital") is a research and development company that licenses its innovations to the global wireless and consumer electronics industries. We design and develop advanced technologies that enable connected, immersive experiences in a broad range of communications and entertainment products and services. Since our founding in 1972, our engineers have designed and developed a wide range of innovations that are used in wireless products and networks, from the earliest digital cellular systems to 5G and, today, solutions that we believe will shape the world beyond 5G. With the acquisition of the patent licensing business of visual technology industry leader Technicolor SA ("Technicolor") in 2018 (the "Technicolor Patent Acquisition"), followed by the acquisition of their Research & Innovation unit in 2019 (the "R&I Acquisition" and, together with the Technicolor Patent Acquisition, the "Technicolor Acquisitions"), we are now a leader in video processing, encoding/decoding, and display technology, with a significant Artificial Intelligence ("AI") research effort that intersects with both wireless and visual technologies.
InterDigital is one of the largest pure research & development and licensing companies in the world, with one of the most significant patent portfolios in the wireless and video industries. As of December 31, 2020, InterDigital's wholly owned subsidiaries held a portfolio of approximately 28,000 patents and patent applications related to wireless communications, video coding, display technology, and other areas relevant to the wireless and consumer electronics industries. Our portfolio includes numerous patents and patent applications that we believe are or may be essential or may become essential to standards established by many Standards Development Organizations ("SDOs"), including cellular and other wireless communications and video technology standards. Those wireless standards include 3G, 4G and the IEEE 802 suite of standards, as well as patents and patent applications that we believe are or may become essential to 5G standards that currently exist and as they continue to develop. Our video technology portfolio includes patents and applications relating to standards established by ISO/IEC Moving Picture Expert Group (MPEG), the ITU-T Video Coding Expert Group (VCEG), the Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding (JCT-VC) and the Joint Video Expert Team (JVET), among others.
Our wireless portfolio has largely been built through internal development, supplemented by joint development projects with other companies, and select acquisitions of patents and companies. Products incorporating our patented inventions in wireless include: mobile devices, such as cellular phones, tablets, notebook computers and wireless personal digital assistants; wireless infrastructure equipment, such as base stations; components, dongles and modules for wireless devices; and Internet of Things ("IoT") devices and software platforms. Our video technology portfolio largely represents patents and applications that InterDigital obtained through the Technicolor Patent Acquisition, supplemented by internal development. Our patented inventions in video are incorporated in a range of products and services, including cellular phones, notebook computers, televisions, gaming consoles, set-top boxes, streaming devices and other consumer electronics.
InterDigital derives revenues primarily from patent licensing, with contributions from patent sales, product sales, technology solutions licensing and sales and engineering services. In 2020, our total revenues were $359.0 million, including recurring revenues of $336.8 million, which consisted of current patent royalties and current technology solutions revenue. In 2019, our total revenues were $318.9 million, which consisted of recurring revenues of $298.2 million. Additional information about our revenues, profits and assets, as well as additional financial data, is provided in the Selected Financial Data in Part II, Item 6, and in the Consolidated Financial Statements and accompanying Notes in Part II, Item 8, of this Form 10-K.
Our Strategy
Our objective is to continue to be a leading innovator, designer and developer of technology solutions for the wireless and consumer electronics industries and to monetize those solutions and innovations primarily through licensing.
To execute our strategy, we intend to:
Continue to invest in advanced research and development. We intend to build upon our leading position in advanced wireless technology, video coding, IoT, AI, and other related technology areas by growing our investment in our industry-leading research and development organization, actively participating in SDOs and other industry consortia, and partnering with leading inventors and industry players to source and develop new technologies and grow our worldwide patent portfolio.

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Grow our patent-based revenue. We intend to grow our licensing revenue base by adding licensees and leveraging the size of the overall mobile technology market, expanding our licensing revenue in the consumer electronics market, and expanding into adjacent and new technology areas that align with our intellectual property position. These licensing efforts may be direct or executed in conjunction with licensing partnerships, trusts and other efforts, and may require the enforcement and defense of our intellectual property through litigation and other means.
Maintain a collaborative relationship with key industry players and worldwide standards bodies.   We intend to continue contributing to the ongoing process of defining wireless, video and other standards and other industry-wide efforts and incorporating our inventions into those technology areas. Those efforts, and the knowledge gained through them, support internal development efforts and help guide technology and intellectual property sourcing through partners and other external sources.
Pursue commercial opportunities for our advanced platforms and solutions.  As part of our ongoing research and development efforts, InterDigital often creates entire functioning platforms in various technology areas that incorporate our proprietary innovations. We also believe that our advanced capabilities in visual technologies will continue to result in developing solutions that can be implemented in adjacent industries, such as content production, gaming, and other areas. We will seek to bring those technologies, as well as other technologies we may develop or acquire, to market through various methods including technology licensing, stand-alone commercial initiatives, joint ventures and partnerships.
Technology Research and Development
InterDigital R&I    
InterDigital operates a diversified research and development operation, InterDigital Research & Innovation ("InterDigital R&I"). InterDigital R&I was created through the combination of InterDigital’s research team with Technicolor's R&I team that was acquired in the R&I Acquisition.    
As an early and ongoing participant in the digital wireless market, InterDigital developed pioneering solutions for the primary cellular air interface technologies in use today. That early involvement, and our continued development of advanced digital wireless technologies, have enabled us to create our significant worldwide portfolio of patents. In addition, InterDigital was among the first companies to participate in standardization and platform development efforts related to Machine-to-Machine ("M2M") communications and IoT technology. With the completion of the Technicolor Acquisitions, InterDigital R&I is a leader in key video technologies, including emerging technologies such as immersive video and AI-based video coding. Our current research efforts are focused on a variety of areas related to future technology and devices, including cellular wireless technology, advanced video coding and transmission, and AI.
Our capabilities in the development of advanced technologies are based on the efforts of a highly specialized engineering team, leveraging leading-edge equipment and software platforms. As of December 31, 2020, InterDigital employed approximately 300 engineers, approximately 89% of whom hold advanced degrees (including 108 doctorate degrees). Over the last three years, investment in development has ranged from $69.7 million to $84.6 million, and the largest portion of this expense has been personnel costs. Additional information about our development expenses is provided in the results of operations, under the heading "Operating Expenses," in Part II, Item 7, of this Form 10-K.
Wireless Technology
We have a long history of developing cellular technologies, including those related to CDMA and TDMA and, more recently, OFDM/OFDMA and MIMO. Many of our inventions are being used in all 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G wireless networks and mobile terminal devices. We also continue to be engaged in development efforts to build and enhance our 3GPP (as defined herein) technology portfolio in areas including 5G NR, Beyond 5G (B5G), Extended Reality (XR) over wireless, and cellular IoT. Further, we continue to develop additional technologies in response to existing or perceived challenges of connected devices in the expanding terminal markets. The technologies we develop are essential for a variety of connected devices such as automobiles, wearables, smart homes, drones and other connected consumer electronic products. We are developing solutions that enable connectivity in both licensed and unlicensed spectrum, and across a large range of frequencies up to the terahertz (THz) wave bands.
Our wireless research and development activities focus on solutions that apply to cellular wireless standards, including 3G, 4G and 5G technologies (sometimes referred to as "3GPP") and other wireless market segments. Segments outside of 3GPP primarily fall within the scope of the IEEE 802, IETF and ETSI standards. We continue to grow a portfolio of technology related to Wi-Fi, Internet Standards, and Edge Computing, that includes, for example, improvements to the IEEE 802.11 PHY and MAC to increase peak data rates (802.11be - Extremely High Throughput), cloud gaming, and terminal mobility for edge and fog computing services.
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Advanced Video Coding and Transmission Technology
An important and growing segment of wireless traffic is devoted to video streaming. InterDigital has been active for a number of years in developing advanced technologies that address the challenges of video as it relates to mobile, and we further enhanced our capabilities in this area with the completion of the R&I Acquisition. Specifically, in the area of video research and standards, we have been actively engaged in video standards development work in the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Expert Group (MPEG), the ITU-T Video Coding Expert Group (VCEG), the Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding (JCT-VC) and the Joint Video Expert Team (JVET). Those efforts have focused on H.265/HEVC versions 1 to 4 and MPEG DASH, as well as development of the FVC/H.266 and the MPEG Immersive (MPEG-I) standards suite for the future. Beyond standards, InterDigital R&I is conducting research in groundbreaking areas such as immersive video, augmented and mixed reality, and other emerging technologies.
Artificial Intelligence
In addition to our historical work in major wireless standards that integrate some AI capabilities, the R&I Acquisition brought an advanced AI lab to InterDigital that is researching a variety of aspects of AI that intersect with video and wireless technology. Those areas of research include: energy-efficient deep learning, aimed at reducing the energy-intensive rollout of AI into specific service areas; deep video compression, seeking to design novel video codecs based on deep learning techniques and optimized for different use cases (e.g., machine vision); AI for dynamic wireless environments, focused on learning and optimizing wireless systems, particularly when channel characteristics are highly dynamic; and explainable or interpretable AI, addressing weaknesses in neural networks in providing transparency and generating trust.
Patent Portfolio; R&D Facilities
As of December 31, 2020, our patent portfolio consisted of approximately 28,000 patents and patent applications worldwide. The patents and applications comprising our portfolio relate predominantly to cellular wireless standards, including 3G, 4G and 5G technologies, other wireless standards, including 802.11 (Wi-Fi) technology, and a variety of video technologies and standards, such as HEVC and VVC. Our issued patents expire at differing times ranging from 2021 through 2040. We currently operate seven research and development facilities in five countries: Berlin, Germany; Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, USA; London, United Kingdom; Montreal, Canada; New York, New York, USA; Palo Alto, California, USA; and Rennes, France.
Our Revenue Sources
Patent-Based Revenue
Overview of Patent Licenses
We believe that companies making, importing, using or selling products compliant with the standards covered by our patent portfolio, including all manufacturers of mobile handsets, tablets and other devices, require a license under our patents and will require licenses under patents that may issue from our pending patent applications. We have successfully entered into license agreements with many of the leading mobile communications companies globally, including Apple Inc. ("Apple"), Huawei Investment & Holding Co., Ltd. (“Huawei”), Google LLC ("Google"), LG Electronics, Inc. ("LG"), Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. ("Samsung"), Sony Corporation of America ("Sony"), and ZTE Corporation ("ZTE"), among others.
We have striven to be recognized within the licensing industry for the transparency of our business, fairness and flexibility of our approach, and our willingness to work with licensees. In furtherance of this objective, in January 2020, we made publicly available our rates, portfolio data and licensing policies with regard to mobile handsets, potentially setting a new industry standard for transparency in licensing.
Most of our patent license agreements are structured on a variable royalty basis, while others are structured on a fixed-fee basis or a combination thereof. Upon entering into a new patent license agreement, the licensee typically agrees to pay consideration for sales made prior to the effective date of the license agreement (i.e., past patent royalties) and also agrees to pay royalties or license fees on licensed products sold during the term of the agreement. We expect that, for the most part, new license agreements will follow this model. Almost all of our patent license agreements provide for the payment of royalties based on sales of licensed products designed to operate in accordance with particular standards (convenience-based licenses), as opposed to the payment of royalties if the manufacture, sale or use of the licensed product infringes one of our patents (infringement-based licenses).
Some of our patent licenses are fixed-fee agreements, requiring no additional payments relating to designated sales under agreed upon conditions. Those conditions can include paid-up licenses for a period of time, for a class of products, for a number of products sold, under certain patents or patent claims, for sales in certain countries or a combination thereof. Licenses become paid-up based on the payment of fixed amounts or after the payment of royalties for a term.
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Some of our patent license agreements provide for the non-refundable prepayment of royalties that are usually made in exchange for prepayment discounts. As the licensee reports sales of covered products, the royalties are calculated and either applied against any prepayment or become payable in cash or other consideration. Additionally, royalties on sales of licensed products under the license agreement become payable or applied against prepayments based on the royalty formula applicable to the particular license agreement. These formulas include flat dollar rates per unit, a percentage of sales, a percentage of sales with a per-unit cap and other similar measures. The formulas can also vary by other factors, including territory, covered standards, quantity and dates sold. Our license agreements typically contain provisions that give us the right to audit our licensees' books and records to ensure compliance with the licensees' reporting and payment obligations under those agreements. From time to time, these audits reveal underreporting or underpayments under the applicable agreements. In such cases, we seek payment for the amount owed and enter into negotiations with the licensee to resolve the discrepancy.
For a discussion of our revenue recognition policies with respect to patent license agreements, see “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Overview - Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates - Revenue Recognition - Patent License Agreements.”
Licensing Through Platforms
As part of the Technicolor Patent Acquisition, we assumed Technicolor's rights and obligations under a joint licensing program with Sony relating to digital televisions ("DTVs") and standalone computer display monitors ("CDMs") (such program, the "Madison Arrangement"), including Technicolor's role as sole licensing agent. Under the Madison Arrangement, Technicolor and Sony combined portions of their respective DTV and CDM patent portfolios and created a combined licensing opportunity to DTV and CDM manufacturers. As licensing agent for the Madison Arrangement, we are responsible for making decisions regarding the prosecution and maintenance of the combined patent portfolio and the licensing and enforcement of the combined patent portfolio in the field of use of DTVs and CDMs. Refer to Note 5, "Business Combinations and Other Transactions," within the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K for further information about the Madison Arrangement.
In third quarter 2016, InterDigital joined Avanci, the industry’s first marketplace for the licensing of cellular standards-essential technology for the IoT. The licensing platform brings together some of InterDigital’s peers in standards-essential technology leadership, and makes 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G standards-essential patents available to IoT players in specific product segments with one flat-rate license. The Avanci licensing programs in specific product segments for the IoT industry will provide access to the entire applicable standards-essential wireless patent portfolios held by all of the platform participants, as well as any additions to their portfolios during the term of the license. Since December 2017, Avanci has announced signed patent license agreements with BMW Group, Audi and Porsche, the Volkswagen Group Companies and Volvo Cars.
During first quarter 2020, Sisvel International N.A. announced that it had launched a licensing program covering VP9 and AV1 video coding formats, which we have agreed to join as a licensor.
Patent Sales
We also pursue, on occasion, targeted sales of portions of our patent portfolio. This strategy is based on the expectation that our portfolio and continued research efforts extend well beyond the requirements for a successful licensing program. In addition, the strategy leverages the desire from new entrants in the mobile technology space to build strong intellectual property positions to support their businesses.
Other Potential Revenue Opportunities
Our strong technology expertise and research and development team also form the basis for other potential revenue opportunities, focused around areas such as engineering services, research joint ventures and the continued development, commercialization and licensing of research and development projects that have progressed to a pre-commercial or commercial phase. We also currently recognize revenue from the licensing of technology that has been developed by our engineering teams and is integrated into other companies’ technology products.
In all of its technology areas, InterDigital works to incubate and commercialize market-ready technologies. These include technologies that were developed as part of our standards development efforts, as well as technologies developed outside the scope of those efforts. Those commercial efforts sometimes include the establishment of a separate commercial initiative focused on the specific opportunity. Although these initiatives are in their early stages, they are potential revenue opportunities for the Company.
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In 2012, we formed a joint venture with Sony called Convida Wireless. The joint venture combined InterDigital's advanced M2M research capabilities with Sony's consumer electronics expertise with the purpose of driving new research in IoT communications and other connectivity areas. This joint venture was renewed in 2015 with its focus expanded to include advanced research and development into 5G and future wireless technologies, and further renewed in 2018 and is scheduled to expire at the end of 2021. As of December 31, 2020, Convida Wireless owned 2,100 patents and patent applications worldwide, which expire at different times ranging from 2021 through 2040.
Overview of Wireless Communications and Consumer Electronics Industries
The wireless communications industry continues to be one of the most impactful worldwide, and the number of devices and device types entering the market is growing. For example, despite the temporary impact on market rollout due to COVID-19, the introduction of 5G wireless networks is expected to drive a significant upgrade cycle for mobile phones, and 5G technology is expected to be implemented in an expanding range of products. In particular, IoT is an important new market that is expected to result in a significant increase in the number of connected devices worldwide and unlock new business capabilities. According to Transforma Research, at the end of 2019, there were 7.7 billion active IoT devices, a figure which will grow to 25.4 billion in 2030, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11%. Public networks, which are dominated by cellular networks, will grow from 1.2 billion connections to 6.0 billion in 2030, growing market share from 16% to 23%.
In addition to connectivity technology, demand remains robust for devices in the broader consumer electronics industry, including TV displays, computer displays, set-top boxes, gaming consoles, wireless assistants, headphones, wearables, smart home devices, and other types of consumer electronic devices that implement video, wireless technology, or a combination of both. The consumer electronics industry is also experiencing significant change, as technology-enabled services such as video streaming and 4K UHD video are being adopted globally.
To achieve economies of scale and support interoperability among different participants, products for the wireless industry have typically been designed to operate in accordance with certain standards. Industry standards are formal guidelines for engineers, designers, manufacturers and service providers that regulate and define the use of the radio frequency spectrum in conjunction with providing detailed specifications for wireless communications products. A primary goal of the standards is to ensure interoperability of products marketed by multiple companies. A large number of international and regional wireless SDOs, including the ITU, ETSI, TIA (USA), IEEE, ATIS (USA), TTA (Korea), ARIB (Japan) and ANSI, have responsibility for the development and administration of wireless communications standards. New standards are typically adopted with each new generation of products, are often compatible with previous generations and are defined to ensure equipment interoperability and regulatory compliance. The consumer electronics industry also implements many of the same standards, including standards related to Wi-Fi and increasingly, cellular technologies, as well as a broad range of video coding standards that are governed by regional and global SDOs.
SDOs typically ask participating companies to declare formally whether they believe they hold patents or patent applications essential to a particular standard and whether they are willing to license those patents on either a royalty-bearing basis on fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms or on a royalty-free basis. To manufacture, have made, sell, offer to sell or use such products on a non-infringing basis, a manufacturer or other entity doing so must first obtain a license from the holder of essential patent rights. The SDOs do not have enforcement authority against entities that fail to obtain required licenses, nor do they have the ability to protect the intellectual property rights of holders of essential patents.
InterDigital often publicly characterizes aspects of its business, including license agreements and development projects, as pertaining to industry standardized technologies such as, for example, 3G, 4G, 5G, Wi-Fi and HEVC. In doing this, we generally rely on the positions of the applicable SDOs in defining the relevant standards. However, the definitions may evolve or change over time, including after we have characterized certain transactions.
Business Activities
2020 Patent Licensing Activity
Direct Licenses
During first quarter 2020, we entered into a multi-year, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty bearing patent license agreement with Fairphone B.V. (“Fairphone”). The agreement covers Fairphone’s sale of its 3G and 4G handsets.
Also during first quarter 2020, we entered into a multi-year, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty bearing patent license agreement with Humax Co., Ltd. (“Humax”). The agreement covers Humax’s use of our HEVC technology in their digital set-top boxes.
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During second quarter 2020, we entered into a multi-year, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-bearing patent license (the “Huawei PLA”) with Huawei. In addition to agreement on terms for dismissal of the litigations and other proceedings between the parties, the agreement covers the sale of certain of Huawei’s 3G, 4G, and 5G terminal unit products, including the use of Wi-Fi and HEVC in those products.
During fourth quarter 2020, we entered into a multi-year, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-bearing patent license with a mobile handset company covering 3G and 4G handsets, as well as 802.11 and HEVC technologies incorporated into such products.
Also during fourth quarter 2020, we entered into a multi-year, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-bearing, patent license agreement with Blu Products, Inc. (“Blu”). The agreement covers Blu’s sale of its 3G, 4G and 5G handsets, including the use of Wi-Fi and HEVC in those products.
Licenses Through Platforms
During third quarter 2020, as part of the Madison Arrangement, we entered into a non-exclusive, royalty-bearing patent license agreement with a manufacturer covering certain of the licensee’s sales of digital televisions in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.
During 2013, we announced the establishment of the Signal Trust for Wireless Innovation (the “Trust”), the goal of which was to monetize a patent portfolio primarily related to 3G cellular infrastructure. In response to a request from Signal Trust, in first quarter 2021, we provided our consent, as major beneficiary, to dissolve Signal Trust.”
Customers Generating Revenues Exceeding 10% of Total 2020 Revenues
Apple, Samsung and Huawei comprised approximately 31%, 22% and 15% of our total 2020 revenues, respectively.
In 2016, we entered into a multi-year, royalty-bearing, worldwide and non-exclusive patent license agreement with Apple (the “Apple PLA”). The agreement sets forth terms covering the sale by Apple of its products and services, including, but not limited to, its 3G, 4G and future generation cellular and wireless-enabled products. The Apple PLA provided Apple the right to terminate certain rights and obligations under the license for the period after September 30, 2021, but has the potential to provide a license to Apple for a total of up to six years. Apple did not elect to terminate such rights and obligations, and the period for such election has expired. Accordingly, the term of the Apple PLA ends on September 30, 2022. During 2020, we recognized a total of $111.7 million of revenue associated with the Apple PLA under ASC 606.
In 2014, we entered into a patent license agreement with Samsung (the “Samsung PLA”). The royalty-bearing license agreement sets forth terms covering the sale by Samsung of 3G, 4G and certain future generation wireless products. The Samsung PLA provided Samsung the right to terminate certain rights and obligations under the license for the period after 2017 but had the potential to provide a license to Samsung for a total of ten years, including 2013. Samsung did not elect to terminate such rights and obligations, and the period for such election has expired. Accordingly, the term of the Samsung PLA ends on December 31, 2022. During 2020, we recognized a total of $78.3 million of revenue associated with the Samsung PLA under ASC 606.
During second quarter 2020, we signed the Huawei PLA. The Huawei PLA covers the sale of certain of Huawei’s 3G, 4G and 5G terminal unit products, including the use of Wi-Fi and HEVC in those products, and extends through December 31, 2023. During 2020, we recognized a total of $52.1 million of revenue associated with the Huawei PLA under ASC 606, which included $19.2 million of past sales.
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Patent Infringement and Declaratory Judgment Proceedings
From time to time, if we believe a party is required to license our patents in order to manufacture, use and/or sell certain products and such party refuses to do so, we may agree with such party to have royalty rates, or other terms, set by third party adjudicators (such as arbitrators) or, in certain circumstances, we may institute legal action against them. Enforcing our intellectual property through this mechanism is an important alternative to bilateral negotiations with respect to licensees who engage in the pernicious practice of "holdout". More recently, courts in various jurisdictions have started to address “holdout” behavior by granting injunctions against unwilling licensees who would then no longer benefit from a right to a FRAND license. We welcome this development as it incentivizes potential licensees to negotiate in a timely and reasonable fashion or risk losing their right to a FRAND royalty. Enforcement through this mechanism has typically taken the form of a patent infringement lawsuit or an administrative proceeding, such as a Section 337 proceeding before the U.S. International Trade Commission ("USITC" or the "Commission"). In a patent infringement lawsuit, we would typically seek damages for past infringement and/or an injunction against future infringement. In a USITC proceeding, we would seek an exclusion order to bar infringing goods from entry into the United States, as well as a cease and desist order to bar further sales of infringing goods that have already been imported into the United States. Parties may bring administrative and/or judicial challenges to the validity, enforceability, essentiality and/or applicability of our patents to their products or seek to petition a court to establish a rate and/or terms for a license to our patents. Parties may also allege that our efforts to enter into a license with that party do not comply with any obligations we may have in connection with our participation in standards-setting organizations, and therefore that we are not entitled to the relief that we seek. For example, a party may allege that we have not complied with an obligation to offer (or be prepared to offer) a license to that party for patents that are or may become standards-essential patents ("SEPs") on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory ("FRAND") terms and conditions, and may also file antitrust claims or regulatory complaints on that or other bases, and may seek damages or other relief based on such claims. In addition, a party might file a declaratory judgment action to seek a court's declaration that our patents are invalid, unenforceable, not infringed by the other party's products or are not SEPs. Our response to such a declaratory judgment action may include claims of infringement. When we include claims of infringement in a patent infringement lawsuit, a favorable ruling for the Company can result in the payment of damages for past patent royalties, the setting of a royalty for future sales or issuance by the court of an injunction enjoining the infringer from manufacturing, using and/or selling the infringing product.

Contractual Arbitration Proceedings
We and our licensees, in the normal course of business, may have disagreements as to the rights and obligations of the parties under applicable agreements. For example, we could have a disagreement with a licensee as to the amount of reported sales and royalties. Our patent license agreements typically provide for audit rights as well as private confidential arbitration as the mechanism for resolving disputes, and we may attempt to resolve such disputes in arbitration. In arbitration, licensees may seek to assert various claims, defenses, or counterclaims, such as claims based on waiver, promissory estoppel, breach of contract, fraudulent inducement to contract, antitrust, and unfair competition. Arbitration proceedings can be resolved through an award rendered by the arbitrators or by settlement between the parties. Parties to arbitration might have the right to have the award reviewed in a court of competent jurisdiction. However, based on public policy favoring the use of arbitration, it is generally difficult to have arbitration awards vacated or modified. The party securing an arbitration award may seek to have that award confirmed as a judgment through an enforcement proceeding. The purpose of such a proceeding is to secure a judgment that can be used for, if need be, seizing assets of the other party.
In addition, arbitration may be a particularly effective means for resolving disputes with prospective licensees concerning the appropriate FRAND terms and conditions for license agreements that include SEPs, particularly where negotiations have otherwise reached an impasse. Binding arbitration to resolve the terms and conditions of a worldwide FRAND license to our relevant portfolio of SEPs is an efficient and cost-effective mechanism, as it allows the parties to avoid piecemeal litigation in multiple jurisdictions and ensures that an enforceable patent license agreement that is consistent with FRAND commitments will be in place at the end of the arbitration process. 
Competition
With respect to our technology development activities and resulting commercialization efforts, we face competition from companies, including in-house development teams at other wireless and consumer electronics device companies, semiconductor companies and wireless operators, developing other and similar technologies that are competitive with our products and solutions that we may market or set forth into the standards-setting arena.
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Due to the exclusionary nature of patent rights, we do not compete, in a traditional sense, with other patent holders for patent licensing relationships or sale transactions. Other patent holders do not have the same rights to the inventions and technologies encompassed by our patent portfolio. In any device or piece of equipment that contains intellectual property, the manufacturer may need to obtain licenses from multiple holders of intellectual property. In licensing our patent portfolio, we compete with other patent holders for a share of the royalties that certain licensees may argue to be the total royalty that is supported by a certain product or products, which may face practical limitations. We believe that licenses under a number of our patents are required to manufacture and sell 3G, 4G, 5G and other wireless products, as well as other consumer electronics devices. However, numerous companies also claim that they hold patents that are or may be essential or may become essential to standards-based technology deployed on wireless products and other consumer electronics devices. To the extent that multiple parties all seek royalties on the same product, the manufacturers could claim to have difficulty in meeting the financial requirements of each patent holder. In the past, certain manufacturers have sought antitrust exemptions to act collectively on a voluntary basis. In addition, certain manufacturers have sought to limit aggregate licensing fees or rates for SEPs. Similarly, potential purchasers of our patents often amass patent portfolios for defensive and/or cross-licensing purposes and could choose to acquire patent assets within the same general technology space from other patent holders.
Human Capital
As of December 31, 2020, we had 514 employees worldwide, 271 of whom were based outside of the U.S. None of our employees based in the United States are unionized or subject to collective bargaining agreements, however, our employees based in France are represented by works councils and subject to collective bargaining agreements. None of our employees in other geographic locations are subject to collective bargaining agreements. We consider our relations with our employees to be good. The health and safety of our workforce is fundamental to the success of our business. In order to protect the health and safety of our employees and their families, our entire worldwide workforce has worked remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to do so well into 2021. As a research, development and licensing company, our business activities have continued to operate with minimal interruption even as our employees worked remotely. As a result, we learned that some work which we previously thought required face to face interaction, could progress remotely and going forward, we will be re-thinking the necessity of some travel. However, we understand and value face-to-face interactions and do not expect to continue operating in a fully virtual environment indefinitely; we are working on achieving a balance. As our success, in part, depends upon our ability to attract, motivate and retain the best and brightest researchers, we believe we offer competitive compensation (including salary, incentive bonus, and equity) and benefits packages in each of our locations around the globe. We invest in tools, resources and opportunities for impactful training and tailored development to provide all employees with an opportunity to develop and grow. Throughout 2021, we will be focused on understanding our strengths and opportunities and developing a thoughtful diversity and inclusion strategy, given our commitment to promote and maintain a diverse and inclusive workplace.
Geographic Concentrations
See Note 4, "Geographic/Customer Concentration," in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8, of this Form 10-K for financial information about geographic areas for the last three years.
Corporate Information
The ultimate predecessor company of InterDigital, Inc. was incorporated in 1972 under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and conducted its initial public offering in November 1981. Our headquarters are located in Wilmington, Delaware, USA. Our research and development activities are conducted primarily in facilities located in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, USA; London, United Kingdom; Montreal, Canada; New York, New York, USA; Los Altos, California, USA; and Rennes, France. We are also a party to leases for several smaller research and/or office spaces, including in Berlin, Germany; Brussels, Belgium; Hicksville New York, USA; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Paris, France; Princeton, New Jersey, USA; and Shanghai, China. In addition, we own a townhouse in Washington, District of Columbia, USA, that houses administrative office space.
Our Internet address is www.interdigital.com, where, in the "Investors" section, we make available, free of charge, our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, certain other reports and filings required to be filed under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the "Exchange Act"), and all amendments to those reports or filings as soon as reasonably practicable after such material is electronically filed with or furnished to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. The information contained on or connected to our website is not incorporated by reference into this Form 10-K.
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Item 1A.      RISK FACTORS.
We face a variety of risks that may affect our business, financial condition, operating results, the trading price of our common stock, or any combination thereof. You should carefully consider the following information and the other information in this Form 10-K in evaluating our business and prospects and before making an investment decision with respect to our common stock. If any of these risks were to occur, our business, financial condition, results of operations or prospects could be materially and adversely affected. In such an event, the market price of our common stock could decline and you could lose all or part of your investment. The risks and uncertainties we describe below are not the only ones facing us. Additional risks not presently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial may also affect our business.
Risks Related to Our Business
Royalty rates, or other terms, under our patent license agreements could be subject to determination through arbitration or other third-party adjudications or regulatory or court proceedings, and arbitrators, judges or other third-party adjudicators or regulators could determine that our patent royalty rates should be at levels lower than our agreed or historical rates or otherwise make determinations resulting in less favorable terms and conditions under our patent license agreements.
Historically, we strive for the terms of our patent license agreements, including our royalty rates, to be reached through arms-length bilateral negotiations with our licensees. We could agree, as we did with Huawei pursuant to our December 2013 settlement agreement, to have royalty rates, or other terms, set by third party adjudicators (such as arbitrators) and it is also possible that courts or regulators could decide to set or otherwise determine the FRAND consistency of such terms or the manner in which such terms are determined, including by determining a worldwide royalty rate for our SEPs. Changes to or clarifications of our obligations to be prepared to offer licenses to SEPs on FRAND terms and conditions could require such terms, including our royalty rates, to be determined through third party adjudications. Finally, we and certain of our current and prospective licensees have initiated, and we and others could in the future initiate, legal proceedings or regulatory proceedings requesting third party adjudicators or regulators to set FRAND terms and conditions for, or determine the FRAND-consistency of current terms and conditions in, our patent license agreements, and which could result in such third party adjudicators or regulators determining a worldwide royalty rate for our SEPs, such as the proceeding Xiaomi initiated before the Wuhan Intermediate People’s Court to determine a worldwide rate for our 3G and 4G SEPs. To the extent that our patent royalty rates for our patent license agreements are determined through arbitration or other third party adjudications or regulatory or court proceedings rather than through bilateral negotiations, because such proceedings are inherently unpredictable and uncertain and there are currently few precedents for such determinations, it is possible that royalty rates may be lower than our historical rates, and this could also have a negative impact on royalties we are able to obtain from future licensees, which may have an adverse effect on our revenue and cash flow. In addition, to the extent that other terms and conditions for our patent license agreements are determined through such means, such terms and conditions could be less favorable than our historical terms and conditions, which may have an adverse effect on our licensing business.
Due to the nature of our business, we could continue to be involved in a number of costly litigation, arbitration and administrative proceedings to enforce or defend our intellectual property rights and to defend our licensing practices.
While some companies seek licenses before they commence manufacturing and/or selling devices that use our patented inventions, most do not. Consequently, we approach companies and seek to establish license agreements for using our inventions. We expend significant time and effort identifying users and potential users of our inventions and negotiating license agreements with companies that may be reluctant to take licenses. However, if we believe that a third party is required to take a license to our patents in order to manufacture, sell, offer for sale, import or use products, we have in the past commenced, and may in the future, commence legal or administrative action against the third party if they refuse to enter into a license agreement with us. In turn, we have faced, and could continue to face, counterclaims and other legal proceedings that challenge the essential nature of our patents, or that claim that our patents are invalid, unenforceable or not infringed. Litigation adversaries have and may continue allege that we have not complied with certain commitments to standards-setting organizations and therefore that we are not entitled to the relief that we seek. For example, Lenovo has alleged, and other parties may allege, that we have not complied with an obligation to offer a license to a party on FRAND terms and conditions, and may also file antitrust claims, unfair competition claims or regulatory complaints on that or other bases, and may seek damages and other relief based on such claims. Litigation adversaries have also filed against us, and other third parties may in the future file, validity challenges such as inter partes proceedings in the USPTO or the China National Intellectual Property Administration, which can lead to delays of our patent infringement actions as well as potential findings of invalidity. Such parties may also seek to obtain a determination that our patents are not infringed, are not essential or are unenforceable.
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Litigation may be also required to enforce our intellectual property rights, protect our trade secrets, enforce patent license and confidentiality agreements or determine the validity, enforceability and scope of proprietary rights of others. The cost of enforcing and defending our intellectual property and of defending our licensing practices has been and may continue to be significant. As a result, we could be subject to significant legal fees and costs, including in certain jurisdictions the costs and fees of opposing counsel if we are unsuccessful. In addition, litigation, arbitration and administrative proceedings require significant key employee involvement for significant periods of time, which could divert these employees from other business activities.
Our plans to license handset manufacturers in China may be adversely affected by a deterioration in United States-China trade and geopolitical relations, our customers facing economic uncertainty there or our failure to establish a positive reputation in China, which could materially adversely affect our long-term business, financial condition and operating results.
Companies headquartered in China currently comprise a substantial portion of the handset manufacturers that remain unlicensed to our patent portfolio. Our ability to license such manufacturers is, among other things, affected by the macroeconomic and geopolitical climate, as well as our business relationships and perceived reputation in China. The U.S. and Chinese governments are currently engaged in trade negotiations, and the U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory in January 2019 that advised U.S. citizens to exercise increased caution in China due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws. This travel advisory and other security concerns, along with public health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, have restricted our ability to conduct in-person negotiations with prospective Chinese licensees in the past, and could continue to do so in the future. In January 2020, the U.S. and China entered into Phase One of the Economic and Trade Agreement Between the United States of America and the People's Republic of China (the "Phase One Trade Agreement"). The Phase One Trade Agreement takes steps to ease certain trade tensions between the U.S. and China, including tensions involving intellectual property theft and forced intellectual property transfers by China. Although the Phase One Trade Agreement is an encouraging sign of progress in the trade negotiations between the U.S. and China, questions still remain as to the enforcement of its terms, the resolution of a number of other points of dispute between the parties, and the prevention of further tensions. If the U.S.-China trade dispute re-escalates or relations between the United States and China deteriorate, these conditions could adversely affect our ability to license our patent portfolio to Chinese handset manufacturers. Our ability to license such manufacturers could also be affected by economic uncertainty, particularly in the handset market, in China or by our failure to establish a positive reputation and relationships in China. The occurrence of any of these events could have an adverse effect on our ability to enter into license agreements with Chinese handset manufacturers, which, in turn, could cause our long-term business, financial condition and operating results to be materially adversely affected.
Potential patent and litigation reform legislation, potential USPTO and international patent rule changes, potential legislation affecting mechanisms for patent enforcement and available remedies, and potential changes to the intellectual property rights (“IPR”) policies of worldwide standards bodies, as well as rulings in legal proceedings, may affect our investments in research and development and our strategies for patent prosecution, licensing and enforcement and could have a material adverse effect on our licensing business as well as our business as a whole.
Potential changes to certain U.S. and international patent laws, rules and regulations may occur in the future, some or all of which may affect our research and development investments, patent prosecution costs, the scope of future patent coverage we secure, the number of forums in which we can seek to enforce our patents, the remedies that we may be entitled to in patent litigation, and attorneys’ fees or other remedies that could be sought against us, and may require us to reevaluate and modify our research and development activities and patent prosecution, licensing and enforcement strategies. Similarly, legislation designed to reduce the jurisdiction and remedial authority of the USITC has periodically been introduced in Congress.
Any potential changes in the law, the IPR policies of standards bodies or other developments that reduce the number of forums available or the type of relief available in such forums (such as injunctive relief), restrict permissible licensing practices (such as our ability to license on a worldwide portfolio basis) or that otherwise cause us to seek alternative forums (such as arbitration or state court), would make it more difficult for us to enforce our patents, whether in adversarial proceedings or in negotiations. Because we have historically depended on the availability of certain forms of legal process to enforce our patents and obtain fair and adequate compensation for our investments in research and development and the unauthorized use of our intellectual property, developments that undermine our ability to do so could have a negative impact on future licensing efforts.
Rulings in our legal proceedings as well as those of third parties may affect our strategies for patent prosecution, licensing and enforcement. For example, in recent years, the USITC and U.S. courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, have taken some actions that have been viewed as unfavorable to patentees, including us. Decisions that occur in the U.S. or in international forums may change the law applicable to various patent law issues, such as, for example, patentability, validity, claim construction, patent exhaustion, patent misuse, permissible licensing practices, available forums, and remedies such as damages and injunctive relief, in ways that are detrimental to the ability of patentees to enforce patents and obtain suitable relief.
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We continue to monitor and evaluate our strategies for prosecution, licensing and enforcement with regard to these developments; however, any resulting change in such strategies may have an adverse impact on our business and financial condition.
Setbacks in defending our patent licensing practices could cause our cash flow and revenue to decline and could have an adverse effect on our licensing business.
Adverse decisions in litigation or regulatory actions relating to our licensing practices, including, but not limited to, findings that we have not complied with our FRAND commitments and/or engaged in anticompetitive or unfair licensing activities or that any of our license agreements are void or unenforceable, could have an adverse impact on our cash flow and revenue. Regulatory bodies may assess fines in the event of adverse findings, and as part of court or arbitration proceedings, a judgment could require us to pay damages (including the possibility of treble damages for antitrust claims), such as the Wuhan Intermediate Court’s imposition of a fine of up to one million yuan per day if the Company were to violate its September 23, 2020 discussed in Note 12, “Litigation and Legal Proceedings,” In addition, to the extent that legal decisions find patent license agreements to be void or unenforceable in whole or in part, that could lead to a decrease in the revenue associated with and cash flow generated by such agreements, and, depending on the damages requested, could lead to the refund of certain payments already made. Finally, adverse legal decisions related to our licensing practices could have an adverse effect on our ability to enter into license agreements, which, in turn, could cause our cash flow and revenue to decline.
Challenges relating to our ability to enter into new license agreements could cause our revenue and cash flow to decline.
We face challenges in entering into new patent license agreements. One of the most significant challenges we face is that most potential licensees do not voluntarily seek to enter into license agreements with us before they commence manufacturing and/or selling devices that use our patented inventions. As a result, we must approach companies that are reluctant to take licenses and attempt to establish license agreements with them. The process of identifying potential users of our inventions and negotiating license agreements with reluctant prospective licensees requires significant time, effort and expense. Once discussions with unlicensed companies have commenced, we face the additional challenges imposed by the significant negotiation issues that arise from time to time. Given these challenges relating to our ability to enter into new license agreements, we cannot ensure that all prospective licensees will be identified or, if they are identified, will be persuaded during negotiations to enter into a patent license agreement with us, either at all or on terms acceptable to us, and, as a result, our revenue and cash flow could materially decline. The length of time required to negotiate a license agreement also leads to delays in the receipt of the associated revenue stream, which could also cause our revenue and cash flow to decline.
In addition, as discussed more fully above in these Risk Factors, we are currently operating in a challenging regulatory and judicial environment, which may, under certain circumstances, lead to delays in the negotiation of and entry into new patent license agreements. Also, as discussed above in these Risk Factors and in Item 3, Legal Proceedings, in this Form 10-K, we are also currently, and may in the future be, involved in legal proceedings with potential licensees, with whom we do not yet have a patent license agreement. Any such delays in the negotiation or entry into new patent license agreements and receipt of the associated revenue stream could cause our revenue and cash flow to decline.
Royalty rates could decrease for future license agreements due to downward product pricing pressures and competition over patent royalties.
Royalty payments to us under future license agreements could be lower than anticipated. Certain licensees and others in the wireless and consumer electronics industries, individually and collectively, are demanding that royalty rates for patents be lower than historic royalty rates and/or that such rates should be applied to royalty bases smaller than the selling price of an end product (such as the “smallest salable patent practicing unit”). There is also increasing downward pricing pressure on certain wireless products, including handsets, and other consumer electronics devices that we believe implement our patented inventions, and some of our royalty rates are tied to the pricing of these devices. In addition, a number of other companies also claim to hold patents that are essential with respect to products we aim to license. Demands by certain licensees to reduce royalties due to pricing pressure or the number of patent holders seeking royalties on these technologies, could result in a decrease in the royalty rates we receive for use of our patented inventions, thereby decreasing future revenue and cash flow.
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Our plans to broaden our revenue opportunities through acquiring or developing technology in new or expanded areas, such as technologies in the consumer electronics and IoT spaces, and enhanced intellectual property sourcing and joint ventures, may not be successful and could materially adversely affect our long-term business, financial condition and operating results.
As part of our business strategy, we are seeking to broaden our revenue opportunities through targeted acquisitions, research partnerships, joint ventures, licensing platforms and the continued development of new technologies. Increasingly, our future growth in part depends on developing or acquiring technology in new or expanded areas that are used on cellular devices (such as video coding technologies), in cellular infrastructure equipment and adjacent industry segments outside of traditional cellular industries (such as other consumer electronics devices and the IoT, including the connected home and smart cities, automotive, mobile computing, mobile health and sensor technology), and on third parties incorporating our technology and solutions into device types used in these areas and industry segments. There is no guarantee that we will succeed in acquiring or developing technology and patents or partnering with inventors and research organizations to create new revenue opportunities and/or add new dimensions to our existing portfolio of intellectual property and potentially create new patent licensing programs. Also, our development activities may experience delays, which could reduce our opportunities for patent licensing or other avenues of revenue generation related to such development activities. In the event that any of these risks materialize, our long-term business, financial condition and operating results may be materially adversely affected.
Setbacks in defending and enforcing our patent rights could cause our revenue and cash flow to decline.
Some third parties have challenged, and we expect will continue to challenge, the infringement, validity and enforceability of certain of our patents. In some instances, certain of our patent claims could be substantially narrowed or declared invalid, unenforceable, not essential or not infringed. We cannot ensure that the validity and enforceability of our patents will be maintained or that our patents will be determined to be applicable to any particular product or standard. Moreover, third parties could attempt to circumvent certain of our patents through design changes. Any significant adverse finding as to the validity, infringement, enforceability or scope of our patents and/or any successful design-around of our patents could result in the loss of patent licensing revenue from existing licensees, through termination or modification of agreements or otherwise, and could substantially impair our ability to secure new patent licensing arrangements, either at all or on beneficial terms.
Our technologies may not become patented, adopted by wireless or video standards or widely deployed.
We invest significant resources in the development of advanced technology and related solutions. However, certain of our inventions that we believe will be employed in current and future products, including 4G, 5G, HEVC, VVC and others, are the subject of patent applications where no patent has been issued to us yet by the relevant patent issuing authorities. There is no assurance that these applications will issue as patents, either at all or with claims that would be required by products in the market currently or in the future. Our investments may not be recoverable or may not result in meaningful revenue if a sufficient number of our technologies are not patented and adopted by the relevant standards or if products based on the technologies in which we invest are not widely deployed. Competing technologies could reduce the opportunities for the adoption or deployment of technologies we develop. In addition, it is possible that in certain technology areas, such as in the IoT space, the adoption of proprietary systems could compete with or replace standards-based technology. It is also possible in certain technology areas, such as video coding and the IoT, that open source solutions such as AV1, VP-9 and OCF could compete with or replace proprietary standards-based technology. If the technologies in which we invest do not become patented or are not adopted by the relevant standards, or are not adopted by and deployed in the mainstream markets, at all or at the rate or within time periods that we expect, or in the case of open source solutions, do not infringe our technology, our business, financial condition and operating results could be adversely affected.
Delays in renewing or an inability to renew existing license agreements could cause our revenue and cash flow to decline.
Many of our license agreements have fixed terms. Although we endeavor to renew license agreements with fixed terms prior to the expiration of the license agreements, due to various factors, including the technology and business needs and competitive positions of our licensees and, at times, reluctance on the part of our licensees to participate in renewal discussions, we may not be able to renegotiate the license agreements on acceptable terms before or after the expiration of the license agreement, or at all. If there is a delay in renegotiating and renewing a license agreement prior to its expiration, there could be a gap in time during which we may be unable to recognize revenue from that licensee or we may be forced to renegotiate and renew the license agreement on terms that are more favorable to such licensee, and, as a result, our revenue and cash flow could be materially adversely affected. In addition, if we fail to renegotiate and renew our license agreements at all, our revenue and cash flow could be materially adversely affected.
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Increased scrutiny by antitrust authorities may affect our strategies for patent prosecution, licensing and enforcement and may increase our costs of doing business and/or lead to monetary fines, penalties or other remedies or sanctions.
Domestic and foreign antitrust authorities have increased their scrutiny of the use of SEPs, including the enforcement of such patents against competitors and others. Such scrutiny has already resulted in enforcement actions against Qualcomm and could lead to additional investigations of, or enforcement actions against, us. Such inquiries and/or enforcement actions could impact the availability of injunctive and monetary relief, which may adversely affect our strategies for patent prosecution, licensing and enforcement and increase our costs of operation. Such inquiries and/or enforcement actions could also result in monetary fines, penalties or other remedies or sanctions that could adversely affect our business and financial condition.
Our commercialization, licensing and/or mergers and acquisitions (“M&A”) activities could lead to patent exhaustion or implied license issues that could materially adversely affect our business.
The legal doctrines of patent exhaustion and implied license may be subject to different judicial interpretations. Our commercialization or licensing of certain technologies and/or our M&A activities could potentially lead to patent exhaustion or implied license issues that could adversely affect our patent licensing program(s) and limit our ability to derive licensing revenue from certain patents under such program(s), whether through the assumption of license agreements that would result in our patents being captured by such agreements, the acquisition of a business that sells or licenses products that practice our patents, or otherwise. In the event of successful challenges by current or prospective licensees based on these doctrines that result in a material decrease to our patent licensing revenue, our financial condition and operating results may be materially adversely affected.
We may not be able to realize all of the anticipated benefits from the integration of the patent licensing business that we acquired from Technicolor in 2018 and the Research & Innovation unit of Technicolor (collectively, the “Technicolor business”).
We may fail to realize the anticipated benefits from our integration of the Technicolor business on a timely basis, or at all, for a variety of reasons, including the following:
failure of the acquisitions to materially increase the value of our core handset licensing business by not increasing the royalty amount we would otherwise derive on each handset, not accelerating the pace of licensing, or not allowing us to avoid litigation to protect our intellectual property;
failure to continue to develop and expand our portfolio of video technology patent assets;
failure to execute a successful business plan and licensing program related to consumer electronics;
the risk that we could lose key employees of the Technicolor business;
challenges associated with managing a geographically remote business;
failure to forecast accurately the long-term value and costs of the Technicolor business or of certain assets acquired in the transactions;
liabilities that are not covered by, or exceed the coverage under, the indemnification or other provisions of the acquisition-related agreements; and
patent validity, infringement, exhaustion or enforcement issues not uncovered during our diligence process.
In the event that we fail to realize the anticipated benefits from the acquisition of the Technicolor business, our business and results of operations, and our stock price, may be adversely affected.
We have in the past and may in the future make acquisitions or engage in other strategic transactions that could result in significant changes, costs and/or management disruption and that may fail to enhance shareholder value or produce the anticipated benefits.
We have in the past and may in the future acquire companies, businesses, technology and/or intellectual property, enter into joint ventures or other strategic transactions. Acquisitions or other strategic transactions may increase our costs, including but not limited to accounting and legal fees, and may not generate financial returns or result in increased adoption or continued use of our technologies or of any technologies we may acquire.
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The integration of acquired companies or businesses may result in significant challenges, including, among others: successfully integrating new employees, technology and/or products; consolidating research and development operations; minimizing the diversion of management’s attention from ongoing business matters; and consolidating corporate and administrative infrastructures. As a result, we may be unable to accomplish the integration smoothly or successfully. In addition, we cannot be certain that the integration of acquired companies, businesses, technology and/or intellectual property with our business will result in the realization of the full benefits that we anticipate will be realized from such acquisitions. Our plans to integrate and/or expand upon research and development programs and technologies obtained through acquisitions may result in products or technologies that are not adopted by the market, or the market may adopt solutions competitive to our products or technologies.
Our revenues are derived primarily from a limited number of licensees or customers.
We earn a significant amount of our revenues from a limited number of licensees or customers, and we expect that a significant portion of our revenues will continue to come from a limited number of licensees or customers for the foreseeable future. For example, in 2020, Apple, Samsung and Huawei accounted for approximately 31%, 22% and 15% of our total revenues, respectively. In the event that we are unable to renew one or more of such license agreements upon expiration, our future revenue and cash flow could be materially adversely affected. In the event that one or more of our significant licensees or customers fail to meet their payment or reporting obligations (for example, due to a credit issue or in connection with a legal dispute or similar proceeding) under their respective license agreements, our future revenue and cash flow could be materially adversely affected. In addition, in the event that there is a material decrease in shipments of licensed products by one of our per-unit licensees, our revenues from such licensee could significantly decline and our future revenue and cash flow could be adversely affected.
Our strategy to diversify our patent-based revenue by pursuing alternative patent licensing arrangements and patent sales may not be successful.
There is no guarantee that we will succeed in our pursuit of select patent alternative licensing arrangements or patent sales, and, if we are successful, there is no guarantee that the revenue and cash flow generated through such alternative licensing arrangements (such as the Avanci licensing platform or the Sisvel VP9/AV1 patent pools) or patent sales will be greater than the revenue and cash flow we would have generated if we had retained and/or licensed the patents ourselves. In addition, potential licensees may be reluctant to enter into new patent license agreements, and current licensees may be reluctant to renew their agreements, either at all or on terms acceptable to the Company, based on the fact that we have sold portions of our patent portfolio or the belief that we plan to sell or transfer some of the patents we are asking them to license.
A portion of our revenue and cash flow are dependent upon our licensees' sales and market conditions and other factors that are beyond our control or are difficult to forecast.
A portion of our licensing revenues is dependent on sales by our licensees that are outside our control and that could be negatively affected by a variety of factors, including global, regional and/or country-specific economic conditions and/or public health concerns (e.g., the current coronavirus outbreak), country-specific natural disasters impacting licensee manufacturing and sales, demand and buying patterns of end users, which are often driven by replacement and innovation cycles, the service life of products incorporating our technologies, competition for our licensees' products, supply chain disruptions, and any decline in the sale prices our licensees receive for their covered products. In addition, our operating results also could be affected by general economic and other conditions that cause a downturn in the market for the licensees of our products or technologies. Our revenue and cash flow also could be affected by (i) the unwillingness of any licensee to satisfy all of their royalty obligations on the terms or within the timeframe we expect, (ii) a decline in the financial condition or market position of any licensee or (iii) the failure of sales to meet market forecasts due to global or regional economic conditions, political instability, natural disasters, competitive technologies, lower demand or otherwise. It is also difficult to predict the timing, nature and amount of licensing revenue associated with past infringement (including as a result of the unwillingness of our licensees to compensate us for such past infringement) and new licenses, strategic relationships and the resolution of legal proceedings. The foregoing factors are difficult to forecast and could adversely affect both our quarterly and annual operating results and financial condition.
In addition, some of our patent license agreements provide for upfront fixed payments or prepayments that cover our licensees' future sales for a specified period and reduce future cash receipts from those licensees. As a result, our cash flow has historically fluctuated from period to period. Depending upon the payment structure of any new patent license agreements into which we may enter, such cash flow fluctuations may continue in the future.
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Our revenue may be affected by the deployment of future-generation wireless standards in place of 3G, 4G and 5G technologies or future-generation video standards, by the timing of such deployment, or by the need to extend or modify certain existing license agreements to cover subsequently issued patents.
We own an evolving portfolio of issued and pending patents related to 3G, 4G and 5G cellular technologies and non-cellular technologies including video coding technologies, and our patent portfolio licensing program for future-generation wireless standards or video coding standards may not be as successful in generating licensing income as our current licensing programs. Although we continue to participate in worldwide standards bodies and contribute our intellectual property to future-generation wireless and video coding standards, including standards that will define 5G, our technologies might not be adopted by the relevant standards. In addition, we may not be as successful in the licensing of future-generation products as we have been in licensing products deploying existing wireless and video coding standards, or we may not achieve a level of royalty revenues on such products that is comparable to that which we have historically received on products deploying existing wireless and video coding standards. Furthermore, if there is a delay in the standardization and/or deployment of 5G or future video coding standards, our business and revenue could be negatively impacted.
The licenses that we grant under our patent license agreements typically only cover products designed to operate in accordance with specified technologies and that were manufactured or deployed or anticipated to be manufactured or deployed at the time of entry into the agreement. Also, we have patent license agreements with licensees that now offer for sale types of products that were not sold by such licensees at the time the patent license agreements were entered into and, thus, are not licensed by us. We do not derive patent licensing revenue from the sale of products by our licensees that are not covered by a patent license agreement. In order to grant a patent license for any such products, we will need to extend or modify our patent license agreements or enter into new license agreements with such licensees, and we may not be able to do so on terms acceptable to us or at all. Further, such extensions, modifications or new license agreements may adversely affect our revenue on the sale of products covered by the license prior to any extension, modification or new license.
Our plans to expand our revenue opportunities through commercializing our market-ready technologies and acquiring and/or developing new technology with commercial applicability may not be successful.
As part of our business strategy, we are seeking to expand our revenue opportunities through the continued development, commercialization and licensing of technology projects, including in the video coding and IoT spaces. Commercial success depends on many factors, including the demand for the technology, the highly competitive markets for our technology products, regulatory issues associated with such technology products, and effective marketing and licensing or product sales. Our technology development and acquisition activities may experience delays, or the markets for our technology solutions may fail to materialize to the extent or at the rate we expect, if at all, each of which could reduce our opportunities for technology sales and licensing. In addition, there could be fewer applications for our technology and products than we expect, and/or our offerings may require robust ecosystems of customers and service providers that may fail to materialize. Technology markets also could be affected by general economic conditions, customer buying patterns, timeliness of equipment development, and the availability of capital for, and the high cost of, infrastructure improvements. Additionally, investing in technology development is costly and may require structural changes to the organization that could require additional costs, including without limitation legal and accounting fees. Furthermore, delays or failures to enter into additional partnering relationships to facilitate technology development efforts and secure support for our technologies or delays or failures to enter into technology licensing agreements to secure integration of additional functionality could impair our ability to introduce into the market portions of our technology and resulting products, cause us to miss critical market windows, or decrease our ability to remain competitive. In the event that any of these risks materialize, our long-term business, financial condition and operating results may be materially adversely affected.
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The extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic or any other potential future public health crises, pandemics or similar events will adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations is highly uncertain and cannot be predicted.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant worldwide uncertainty, volatility and economic disruption. The extent to which COVID-19 and any other potential future public health crises, pandemics or similar events will adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations is dependent upon numerous factors, many of which are highly uncertain, rapidly changing and uncontrollable. These factors include, but are not limited to: (i) the duration and scope of the pandemic; (ii) governmental, business and individual actions that have been and continue to be taken in response to the pandemic or other event, including travel restrictions, quarantines, social distancing, work-from-home and shelter-in-place orders and shut-downs; (iii) the impact on our customers, including those that are presently unlicensed, and other business partners; (iv) the impact on U.S. and global economies and the timing and rate of economic recovery; (v) potential adverse effects on the financial markets and access to capital; (vi) potential goodwill or other impairment charges; (vii) increased cybersecurity risks as a result of pervasive remote working conditions; (viii) our ability to effectively carry out our operations due to any adverse impacts on the health and safety of our employees and their families; (ix) the ability of our customers to timely satisfy their payment obligations to us; and (x) fluctuations in global shipments of handsets and consumer electronics devices. Furthermore, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, our employees have been required to work from home and our office locations have remain closed for an extended period of time. The significant increase in remote working could exacerbate certain risks to our business, including an increased risk of cybersecurity events, improper dissemination of personal or confidential information and breakdowns in internal controls and processes.
We face risks from doing business and maintaining offices in international markets.
A significant portion of our licensees, potential licensees and customers are international, and our licensees, potential licensees and customers sell their products to markets throughout the world. In addition, in recent years, we have expanded, and we may continue to expand, our international operations, opening offices in France, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Germany. Accordingly, we are subject to the risks and uncertainties of operating internationally and could be affected by a variety of uncontrollable and changing factors, including, but not limited to: difficulty in protecting our intellectual property in foreign jurisdictions; enforcing contractual commitments in foreign jurisdictions or against foreign corporations; government regulations, tariffs and other applicable trade barriers; biased enforcement of foreign laws and regulations to promote industrial or economic policies at our expense; retaliatory practices by foreign actors; currency control regulations; export license requirements and restrictions on the use of technology; social, economic and political instability; natural disasters, acts of terrorism, widespread illness and war; potentially adverse tax consequences; general delays in remittance of and difficulties collecting non-U.S. payments; foreign labor regulations; anti-corruption laws; public health issues; and difficulty in staffing and managing operations remotely. We also are subject to risks specific to the individual countries in which we and our licensees, potential licensees and customers do business.
In addition, adverse movements in currency exchange rates may negatively affect our business due to a number of situations, including the following:
If the effective price of products sold by our licensees were to increase as a result of fluctuations in the exchange rate of the relevant currencies, demand for the products could fall, which in turn would reduce our royalty revenues.
Assets or liabilities of our consolidated subsidiaries may be subject to the effects of currency fluctuations, which may affect our reported earnings.
Certain of our operating and investing costs, such as foreign patent prosecution, are based in foreign currencies. If these costs are not subject to foreign exchange hedging transactions, strengthening currency values in selected regions could adversely affect our near-term operating expenses, investment costs and cash flows. In addition, continued strengthening of currency values in selected regions over an extended period of time could adversely affect our future operating expenses, investment costs and cash flows.

We face competition from companies developing other or similar technologies.
We face competition from companies developing other and similar technologies that are competitive with our products and solutions that we may market or set forth, including into the standards-setting arena. Due to competing products and solutions, our products and solutions may not find a viable commercial marketplace or, where applicable, be adopted by the relevant standards. In addition, in licensing our patent portfolio, we may compete with other companies, many of whom also claim to hold SEPs, for a share of the royalties that certain licensees may argue to be the total royalty that is supported by a certain product or products. In any device or piece of equipment that contains intellectual property, the manufacturer may need to obtain a license from multiple holders of intellectual property. To the extent that multiple parties all seek royalties on the same product, the manufacturers could claim to have difficulty in meeting the financial requirements of each patent holder.
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Our industry is subject to rapid technological change, uncertainty and shifting market opportunities.
Our success depends, in part, on our ability to define and keep pace with changes in industry standards, technological developments and varying customer requirements. Changes in industry standards and needs could adversely affect the development of, and demand for, our technology, rendering our technology currently under development obsolete and unmarketable. The patents and applications comprising our portfolio have fixed terms, and, if we fail to anticipate or respond adequately to these changes through the development or acquisition of new patentable inventions, patents or other technology, we could miss a critical market opportunity, reducing or eliminating our ability to capitalize on our patents, technology solutions or both.
Concentration and consolidation in the wireless communications industry could adversely affect our business.
There is some concentration among participants in the wireless communications industry, and the industry has experienced consolidation of participants and sales of participants or their businesses, and these trends may continue. For example, in 2020, Samsung, Apple and Huawei collectively accounted for approximately 50% of worldwide smartphone shipments. Although the rollout of 5G handsets is still in its early stages, we anticipate a similar level of concentration in worldwide shipments of those units as well. Any further concentration or sale within the wireless industry among handset providers and/or original design manufacturers ("ODMs") may reduce the number of licensing opportunities or, in some instances, result in the reduction, loss or elimination of existing royalty obligations. We may also face a reduction in the number of licensing opportunities or existing royalty obligations as a result of government-imposed bans or other restrictions on the importation, manufacture and/or sale of cellular handsets by certain companies. In addition, acquisitions of, or consolidation among, ODMs could cause handset providers who outsource manufacturing to make supply chain changes, which in turn could result in the reduction, loss or elimination of existing royalty obligations (for example, if manufacturing is moved from an ODM with which we have a patent license agreement to an ODM with which we do not). Further, if wireless carriers consolidate with companies that utilize technologies that are competitive with our technologies or that are not covered by our patents, we could lose market opportunities, which could negatively impact our revenues and financial condition.
Our use of open source software could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, operating results and cash flow.
Certain of our technology and our suppliers’ technology may contain or may be derived from “open source” software, which, under certain open source licenses, may offer accessibility to a portion of a product’s source code and may expose related intellectual property to adverse licensing conditions. Licensing of such technology may impose certain obligations on us if we were to distribute derivative works of the open source software. For example, these obligations may require us to make source code for derivative works available or license such derivative works under a particular type of license that is different from what we customarily use to license our technology. While we believe we have taken appropriate steps and employ adequate controls to protect our intellectual property rights, our use of open source software presents risks that, if we inappropriately use open source software, we may be required to re-engineer our technology, discontinue the sale of our technology, release the source code of our proprietary technology to the public at no cost or take other remedial actions, which could adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition. There is a risk that open source licenses could be construed in a way that could impose unanticipated conditions or restrictions on our ability to commercialize our solutions, which could adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition. In addition, developing open source products, while adequately protecting the intellectual property rights upon which our licensing business depends, may prove burdensome and time-consuming under certain circumstances, thereby placing us at a competitive disadvantage.
We may have exposure to additional tax liabilities.
The United States government enacted tax reform in 2017 and continues to provide regulatory guidance related to tax reform provisions, and state authorities continue to provide guidance around the application of tax reform provisions, that in each case could impact future effective tax rates favorably or unfavorably. The United States government could enact further tax reform legislation, which could adversely impact our tax rate. The international tax environment also continues to change as a result of both coordinated efforts by governments and unilateral measures designed by individual countries, which could ultimately have an adverse effect on the taxation of international businesses such as ours. Accordingly, our tax rate could be adversely affected by several factors, many of which are outside of our control, including: changing tax laws, regulations and interpretations thereof; changes in tax rates; and assessments and any related tax, interest or penalties. If we are deemed to owe additional taxes, our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be adversely affected.
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Changes to our tax assets or liabilities could have an adverse effect on our consolidated financial condition or results of operations.
The calculation of tax assets and liabilities involves significant judgment in estimating the impact of uncertainties in the application of complex tax laws. We are subject to examinations by the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") and other taxing jurisdictions on various tax matters, including challenges to various positions we assert in our filings and foreign tax liability and withholding. Pursuant to the guidance for accounting for uncertainty in income taxes, certain tax contingencies are recognized when they are determined to be more likely than not to occur. Although we believe we have adequately recorded tax assets and accrued for tax contingencies that meet this criterion, we may not fully recover our tax assets or may be required to pay taxes in excess of the amounts we have accrued, including the $20.9 million net discrete tax benefits we recognized in 2020 primarily related to the expected amendment of a prior year tax return to utilize a tax asset generated in the current year. As of December 31, 2020, and 2019, there were certain tax contingencies that did not meet the applicable criteria to record an accrual. In the event that the IRS or another taxing jurisdiction levies an assessment in the future, it is possible the assessment could have an adverse effect on our consolidated financial condition or results of operations.
The high amount of capital required to obtain radio frequency licenses, deploy and expand wireless networks and obtain new subscribers, as well as the cost of new handsets could slow the growth of the wireless communications industry and adversely affect our business.
Our growth is partially dependent upon the increased use of wireless communications services and cellular handsets that utilize our technology. In order to provide wireless communications services, wireless operators must obtain rights to use specific radio frequencies. The allocation of frequencies is regulated in the United States and other countries throughout the world, and limited spectrum space is allocated to wireless communications services. Industry growth may be affected by the amount of capital required to obtain licenses to use new frequencies, deploy wireless networks to offer voice and data services, expand wireless networks to grow voice and data services and obtain new subscribers. The significant cost of licenses, wireless networks and subscriber additions may slow the growth of the industry if wireless operators are unable to obtain or service the additional capital necessary to implement or expand advanced wireless networks. Growth in the number of cellular handsets may slow as the number of people worldwide without a cellular handset declines. In addition, if the cost of cellular handsets increases, customers may be less likely to replace their existing devices with new devices. The growth of our business could be adversely affected if either of these events occur.
Market projections and data are forward-looking in nature.
Our strategy is based on our own projections and on analyst, industry observer and expert projections, which are forward-looking in nature and are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties. The validity of their and our assumptions, the timing and scope of wireless markets, economic conditions, customer buying patterns, timeliness of equipment development, pricing of products, growth in wireless telecommunications services that would be delivered on wireless devices and availability of capital for infrastructure improvements could affect these predictions. In addition, market data upon which we rely is based on third party reports that may be inaccurate. The inaccuracy of any of these projections and/or market data could adversely affect our operating results and financial condition.
Our engineering services business could subject us to specific costs and risks that we might fail to manage adequately.
We derive a portion of our revenues from engineering services. Any mismanagement of, or negative development in, a number of areas, including, among others, the perceived value of our intellectual property portfolio, our ability to convince customers of the value of our engineering services, the financial health of our customers, and our reputation for performance under our service contracts, could cause our revenues from engineering services to decline, damage our reputation and harm our ability to attract future licensees, which would in turn harm our operating results. If we fail to deliver as required under our service contracts, we could lose revenues and become subject to liability for breach of contract. We need to monitor these services adequately in order to ensure that we do not incur significant expenses without generating corresponding revenues. Our failure to monitor these services adequately may harm our business, financial position, results of operations or cash flows.
It can be difficult for us to verify royalty amounts owed to us under our per-unit licensing agreements, and this may cause us to lose potential revenue.
The standard terms of our per-unit license agreements require our licensees to document the sale of licensed products and report this data to us on a quarterly basis. Although our standard license terms give us the right to audit books and records of our licensees to verify this information, audits can be expensive, time consuming, incomplete and subject to dispute. From time to time, we audit certain of our licensees to verify independently the accuracy of the information contained in their royalty reports in an effort to decrease the likelihood that we will not receive the royalty revenues to which we are entitled under the terms of our license agreements, but we cannot give assurances that these audits will be numerous enough and/or effective to that end.
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Our technology development activities may experience delays.
We may experience technical, financial, resource or other difficulties or delays related to the further development of our technologies. Delays may have adverse financial effects and may allow competitors with comparable technology offerings to gain an advantage over us in the marketplace or in the standards setting arena. There can be no assurance that we will continue to have adequate staffing or that our development efforts will ultimately be successful. Moreover, certain of our technologies have not been fully tested in commercial use, and it is possible that they may not perform as expected. In such cases, our business, financial condition and operating results could be adversely affected, and our ability to secure new licensees and other business opportunities could be diminished.
We rely on relationships with third parties to develop and deploy technology solutions.
Successful exploitation of our technology solutions is partially dependent on the establishment and success of relationships with equipment producers and other industry participants. Delays or failure to enter into licensing or other relationships to facilitate technology development efforts or delays or failure to enter into technology licensing agreements to secure integration of additional functionality could impair our ability to introduce into the market portions of our technology and resulting products, cause us to miss critical market windows or impair our ability to remain competitive.
Our business and operations could suffer in the event of security breaches.
Attempts by others to gain unauthorized access to information technology systems are becoming more sophisticated. These attempts, which in some cases could be related to industrial or other espionage, include covertly introducing malware to computers and networks and impersonating authorized users, among others. We seek to detect and investigate all security incidents and to prevent their recurrence, but, in some cases, we might be unaware of an incident or its magnitude and effects. While we have not identified any material incidents of unauthorized access to date, the theft, unauthorized use or publication of our intellectual property and/or confidential business or personal information (whether through a breach of our own systems or the breach of a system of a third party that provides services to us) could harm our competitive or negotiating positions, reduce the value of our investment in research and development and other strategic initiatives, compromise our patent enforcement strategies or outlook, damage our reputation or otherwise adversely affect our business. In addition, to the extent that any future security breach results in inappropriate disclosure of our employees’, licensees’, or customers’ confidential and /or personal information, we may incur liability or additional costs to remedy any damages caused by such breach.
Our business is subject to a variety of domestic and international laws, rules and policies and other obligations regarding data protection.
We also be affected by existing and proposed laws and regulations, as well as government policies and practices related to cybersecurity, privacy and data protection. For example, the European General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR") adopted by the European Commission became effective in May 2018, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (the "CCPA") adopted by the California State Legislature became effective in January 2020, and China adopted a new cybersecurity law as of June 2017. Complying with the GDPR, the CCPA and other existing and emerging and changing requirements could cause us to incur substantial costs or require us to change our business practices. Non-compliance could result in monetary penalties or significant legal liability.
If wireless handsets are perceived to pose health and safety risks, demand for products of our licensees could decrease.
Media reports and certain studies have suggested that radio frequency emissions from wireless handsets may be linked to health concerns, such as brain tumors, other malignancies and genetic damage to blood, and may interfere with electronic medical devices, such as pacemakers, telemetry and delicate medical equipment. Growing concerns over radio frequency emissions, even if unfounded, could discourage the use of wireless handsets and cause a decrease in demand for the products of our licensees. In addition, concerns over safety risks posed by the use of wireless handsets while driving and the effect of any resulting legislation could reduce demand for the products of our licensees.
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Risks Relating to Our Common Stock and our Convertible Notes
Our shareholders may not receive the level of dividends provided for in our dividend policy or any dividend at all, and any decrease in or suspension of the dividend could cause our stock price to decline.
Our current dividend policy contemplates the payment of a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.35 per share on our outstanding common stock. We expect to continue to pay quarterly cash dividends on our common stock at the rate set forth in our current dividend policy. However, the dividend policy and the payment and timing of future cash dividends under the policy are subject to the final determination each quarter by our Board of Directors that (i) the dividend will be made in compliance with laws applicable to the declaration and payment of cash dividends, including Section 1551(b) of the Pennsylvania Business Corporation Law, and (ii) the policy remains in our best interests, which determination will be based on a number of factors, including our earnings, financial condition, capital resources and capital requirements, alternative uses of capital, restrictions imposed by any existing debt, economic conditions and other factors considered relevant by the Board of Directors. Given these considerations, our Board of Directors may increase or decrease the amount of the dividend at any time and may also decide to vary the timing of or suspend or discontinue the payment of dividends in the future. Any decrease in the amount of the dividend, or suspension or discontinuance of payment of a dividend, could cause our stock price to decline.
Our approved stock repurchase programs may not result in a positive return of capital to shareholders.
Our board-approved stock repurchase program may not return value to shareholders because the market price of the stock may decline significantly below the levels at which we repurchased shares of stock. Stock repurchase programs are intended to deliver shareholder value over the long term, but stock price fluctuations can reduce the effectiveness of such programs. In addition, the board could choose to suspend or terminate the stock repurchase program at any time.
Our indebtedness could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations and our ability to meet our payment obligations under such indebtedness.
Our total indebtedness as of December 31, 2020 was approximately $424.2 million, inclusive of debt resulting from the Technicolor Patent Acquisition (refer to Note 5, "Business Combinations and Other Transactions," within the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K for further information). This level of debt could have significant consequences on our future operations, including:
making it more difficult for us to meet our payment and other obligations under our 2.00% Senior Convertible Notes due 2024 (the "2024 Notes");
reducing the availability of our cash flow to fund working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions and other general corporate purposes, and limiting our ability to obtain additional financing for these purposes;
limiting our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, and increasing our vulnerability to, changes in our business, the industry in which we operate and the general economy; and
placing us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors that have less debt or are less leveraged.
Any of the above-listed factors could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations and our ability to meet our payment obligations under the 2024 Notes.
In addition, as more fully described in Note 10 “Obligations” within the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K, we made an irrevocable election to “Net Share Settle” our obligations under the 2024 Notes, which requires us to pay the outstanding principal amount due under the 2024 Notes in cash. Our ability to meet our payment and other obligations under the 2024 Notes depends on our ability to generate significant cash flow in the future. This, to some extent, is subject to general economic, financial, competitive, legislative and regulatory factors as well as other factors that are beyond our control. We cannot be certain that our business will generate cash flow from operations, or that future borrowings will be available to us, in an amount sufficient to enable us to meet our payment obligations under the 2024 Notes and to fund other liquidity needs. If we are not able to generate sufficient cash flow to service our debt obligations, we may need to refinance or restructure our debt, including the 2024 Notes, sell assets, reduce or delay capital investments, or seek to raise additional capital. If we are unable to implement one or more of these alternatives, we may not be able to meet our payment obligations under the 2024 Notes, and this default could cause us to be in default on any other currently existing or future outstanding indebtedness.
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The convertible note hedge transactions and warrant transactions that we entered into in connection with the offering of the 2024 Notes may affect the value of the 2024 Notes, respectively, and the market price of our common stock.
In connection with each offering of the 2024 Notes, we entered into convertible note hedge transactions with certain financial institutions (the “option counterparties”) and sold warrants to the respective option counterparties. These transactions will be accounted for as an adjustment to our shareholders’ equity. The convertible note hedge transactions are expected to reduce the potential equity dilution upon any conversion of the 2024 Notes. The warrants will have a dilutive effect on our earnings per share to the extent that the market price of our common stock exceeds the applicable strike price of the warrants on any expiration date of the warrants.
In addition, the respective option counterparties (and/or their affiliates) may modify their respective hedge positions from time to time (including during any observation period related to a conversion of the 2024 Notes) by entering into or unwinding various derivative transactions with respect to our common stock and/or by purchasing or selling our common stock in open market transactions and/or privately negotiated transactions.
The potential effect, if any, of any of these transactions and activities on the market price of our common stock will depend in part on market conditions and cannot be ascertained at this time, but any of these activities could adversely affect the market price of our common stock.
We are subject to counterparty risk with respect to the convertible note hedge transactions.
The respective option counterparties are financial institutions or affiliates of financial institutions, and we will be subject to the risk that such option counterparties may default under the respective convertible note hedge transactions. Our exposure to the credit risk of the option counterparties is not secured by any collateral. If an option counterparty becomes subject to insolvency proceedings, we will become an unsecured creditor in those proceedings with a claim equal to our exposure at that time under the applicable convertible note hedge transactions. Our exposure will depend on many factors but, generally, the increase in our exposure will be correlated to the increase in our common stock market price and in volatility of our common stock. In addition, upon a default by an option counterparty, we may suffer adverse tax consequences and dilution with respect to our common stock. We can provide no assurance as to the financial stability or viability of the option counterparties.
Provisions of the 2024 Notes could discourage an acquisition of us by a third party.
Certain provisions of the 2024 Notes could make it more difficult or more expensive for a third party to acquire us. Upon the occurrence of certain transactions constituting a fundamental change under the respective 2024 Notes, holders of the 2024 Notes will have the right, at their option, to require us to repurchase all of their applicable 2024 Notes or any portion of the principal amount of such 2024 Notes at a price of 100% of the principal amount of the 2024 Notes being repurchased, plus accrued and unpaid interest. We may also be required to issue additional shares upon conversion in the event of certain fundamental change transactions. These provisions could limit the price that some investors might be willing to pay in the future for shares of our common stock.
Item 1B.     UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS.
None.
Item 2.     PROPERTIES.
    Our headquarters are located in Wilmington, Delaware, USA. Our research and development activities are conducted primarily in facilities located in Berlin, Germany; Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, USA; London, United Kingdom; Montreal, Canada; New York, New York, USA; Los Altos, California, USA; and Rennes, France.
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The following table sets forth information with respect to our principal properties:
LocationApproximate Square FeetPrincipal UseLease Expiration Date
Wilmington, Delaware36,200Corporate headquartersNovember 2022
Conshohocken, Pennsylvania30,300Office and research spaceSeptember 2026
Montreal, Quebec17,300Office and research spaceJune 2021
New York, New York19,400Office and research spaceJuly 2030
Los Altos, California4,900Office and research spaceNovember 2027
Rennes, France50,000Office and research spaceOctober 2024*
Princeton, New Jersey16,900Office spaceFebruary 2022
* We sublease our facility in Rennes from Thomson Licensing SAS.
We are also a party to leases for several smaller research and/or office spaces, including in Berlin, Germany; Brussels, Belgium; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; London, United Kingdom; Paris, France; Hicksville, New York, USA; and Shanghai, China. In addition, we own a building in Washington, District of Columbia, USA, that houses administrative office space.
We believe that the facilities described above are suitable and adequate for our present purposes and our needs in the near future.
Item 3.     LEGAL PROCEEDINGS.
See Note 12, “Litigation and Legal Proceedings,” to the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included below in Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K for a description of our material legal proceedings, which is incorporated herein by reference.
Item 4.     MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES.
Not applicable.
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PART II
Item 5.     MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES.
Market Information
The NASDAQ Stock Market (“NASDAQ”) is the principal market for our common stock, which is traded under the symbol "IDCC."
Holders
As of February 16, 2021, there were 490 holders of record of our common stock.
Dividends
Cash dividends on outstanding common stock declared in 2020 and 2019 were as follows (in thousands, except per share data):
2020Per ShareTotalCumulative by Fiscal Year
First quarter$0.35 $10,762 $10,762 
Second quarter0.35 10,781 21,543 
Third quarter0.35 10,782 32,325 
Fourth quarter0.35 10,786 43,111 
$1.40 $43,111 
2019
First quarter$0.35 $11,180 $11,180 
Second quarter0.35 10,895 22,075 
Third quarter0.35 10,897 32,972 
Fourth quarter0.35 10,746 43,718 
$1.40 $43,718 
In September 2017, we announced that our Board of Directors had approved an increase in the Company’s quarterly cash dividend to $0.35 per share. We currently expect to continue to pay dividends comparable to our quarterly $0.35 per share cash dividend in the future; however, continued payment of cash dividends and changes in the Company's dividend policy will depend on the Company's earnings, financial condition, capital resources and capital requirements, alternative uses of capital, restrictions imposed by any existing debt, economic conditions and other factors considered relevant by our Board of Directors.
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Performance Graph
The following graph compares five-year total shareholder return on common stock with the cumulative total returns of the NASDAQ Composite index and the NASDAQ Telecommunications index. The graph tracks the performance of a $100 investment in our common stock and in each index (with the reinvestment of all dividends) from 12/31/2015 to 12/31/2020.
idcc-20201231_g1.jpg
 12/1512/1612/1712/1812/1912/20
InterDigital, Inc.100.00 189.17 160.13 142.17 119.27 136.32 
NASDAQ Composite100.00 108.87 141.13 137.12 187.44 271.64 
NASDAQ Telecommunications100.00 112.56 135.96 125.10 158.73 192.30 
The above performance graph shall not be deemed "filed" for purposes of Section 18 of the Exchange Act, or incorporated by reference into any filing of InterDigital under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Exchange Act, except as shall be expressly set forth by specific reference in such filing.
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Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Repurchase of Common Stock
The following table provides information regarding Company purchases of its common stock during fourth quarter 2020.    
PeriodTotal Number of Shares (or Units) Purchased (1)Average Price Paid Per Share (or Unit)Total Number of Shares (or Units) Purchases as Part of Publicly Announced Plans or Programs (2)Maximum Number (or Approximate Dollar Value) of Shares (or Units) That May Yet Be Purchased Under the Plans or Programs (3)
October 1, 2020 - October 31, 2020— $— — $71,464,670 
November 1, 2020 - November 30, 2020— $— — $71,464,670 
December 1, 2020 - December 31, 2020— $— — $71,464,670 
Total— $— — $71,464,670 
(1) Total number of shares purchased during each period reflects share purchase transactions that were completed (i.e., settled) during the period indicated.
(2) Shares were purchased pursuant to the Company’s $700 million share repurchase program (the “2014 Repurchase Program”), $300 million of which was authorized by the Company’s Board of Directors in June 2014, with an additional $100 million authorized by the Company’s Board of Directors in each of June 2015, September 2017, December 2018, and May 2019, respectively. The 2014 Repurchase Program has no expiration date. The Company may repurchase shares under the 2014 Repurchase Program through open market purchases, pre-arranged trading plans, or privately negotiated purchases.
(3) Amounts shown in this column reflect the amounts remaining under the 2014 Repurchase Program.
Item 6.     SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA.

The following data should be read in conjunction with the Consolidated Financial Statements, related Notes and other financial information contained in this Form 10-K. We adopted new revenue guidance, ASC 606, effective January 1, 2018 using the modified retrospective method. As such, revenue and other related accounts are presented in accordance with ASC 606 for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, and in accordance with ASC 605 for all prior periods presented. Additionally, effective January 1, 2019, we adopted ASU 2016-02, "Leases (Topic 842)" or ("ASC 842"), which outlines a comprehensive change to the lease accounting model and supersedes prior lease guidance.
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20202019201820172016
 (in thousands except per share data)
Consolidated statements of operations data:    
Revenues (a)
$358,991 $318,924 $307,404 $532,938 $665,854 
Income from operations55,168 37,835 62,595 301,495 437,306 
Income tax benefit (provision) (b)
6,648 (10,991)27,417 (121,676)(116,791)
Net income applicable to InterDigital, Inc. common shareholders44,801 20,928 65,031 176,220 310,741 
Net income per common share — basic$1.46 $0.66 $1.89 $5.09 $9.00 
Net income per common share — diluted$1.44 $0.66 $1.84 $4.93 $8.83 
Weighted average number of common shares outstanding — basic30,776 31,546 34,491 34,605 34,526 
Weighted average number of common shares outstanding — diluted31,058 31,785 35,307 35,779 35,189 
Cash dividends declared per common share (c)
$1.40 $1.40 $1.40 $1.30 $1.00 
Consolidated balance sheets data:   
Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash (d)
$477,663 $757,098 $488,733 $433,014 $404,074 
Short-term investments453,173 179,204 470,724 724,981 548,687 
Working capital731,117 710,774 844,855 1,019,353 795,639 
Total assets1,616,275 1,612,082 1,626,558 1,854,420 1,727,853 
Total debt367,992 444,758 317,377 285,126 272,021 
Total InterDigital, Inc. shareholders’ equity773,369 761,557 936,729 863,808 746,323 
Noncontrolling interest23,197 24,724 1,284 9,340 8,045 
Total shareholders’ equity$796,566 $786,281 $938,013 $873,148 $754,368 
(a)In 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016, our revenues included $21.6 million, $19.8 million, $26.3 million, $162.9 million, and $309.7 million of non-current patent royalties, respectively.
(b)In 2020, our tax benefit includes discrete benefits of $20.9 million, which primarily relates to the expected amendment of a prior year tax return to utilize a tax asset generated in the current year, as well as the reversal of a tax reserve. In 2018, our income tax benefit includes an $18.0 million tax benefit due to our income qualifying as foreign derived intangible income ("FDII"), as well as a $14.7 million benefit as a result of anticipated filings of amended tax returns in connection with the Korea Competent Authority Proceeding defined and discussed below. In 2017, our income tax provision was impacted by the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “TCJA”). In 2016, our income tax provision included the impact of a $23.6 million net tax benefit primarily related to domestic activity production deductions for prior years.
(c)In September 2017, we announced that our Board of Directors had approved an increase in the Company’s quarterly cash dividend to $0.35 per share. In September 2016, we announced that our Board of Directors had approved an increase in the Company’s quarterly cash dividend to $0.30 per share.
(d)Includes restricted cash which is included within "Prepaid and other current assets" or "Other non-current assets" in the consolidated balance sheets.
Item 7.     MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS.
OVERVIEW
The following discussion should be read in conjunction with the Selected Financial Data, the Consolidated Financial Statements and the Notes thereto contained in this Form 10-K.
Throughout the following discussion and elsewhere in this Form 10-K, we refer to “recurring revenues” and “non-current patent royalties.”  For all periods presented, recurring revenues are comprised of “current patent royalties” and “current technology solutions revenue,”  while "non-current patent royalties" are comprised of past sales royalties and static fixed-fee agreement royalties.
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Business
InterDigital, Inc. ("InterDigital") is a research and development company that licenses its innovations to the global wireless and consumer electronics industries. We design and develop advanced technologies that enable connected, immersive experiences in a broad range of communications and entertainment products and services. Since our founding in 1972, our engineers have designed and developed a wide range of innovations that are used in wireless products and networks, from the earliest digital cellular systems to 5G and, today, solutions that we believe will shape the world beyond 5G. With the acquisition of the patent licensing business of visual technology industry leader Technicolor SA ("Technicolor") in 2018 (the "Technicolor Patent Acquisition"), followed by the acquisition of their Research & Innovation unit in 2019 (the "R&I Acquisition" and, together with the Technicolor Patent Acquisition, the "Technicolor Acquisitions"), we are now a leader in video processing, encoding/decoding, and display technology, with a significant Artificial Intelligence ("AI") research effort that intersects with both wireless and visual technologies.
InterDigital is one of the largest pure research & development and licensing companies in the world, with one of the most significant patent portfolios in the wireless and video industries. As of December 31, 2020, InterDigital's wholly owned subsidiaries held a portfolio of approximately 28,000 patents and patent applications related to wireless communications, video coding, display technology, and other areas relevant to the wireless and consumer electronics industries. Our portfolio includes numerous patents and patent applications that we believe are or may be essential or may become essential to standards established by many Standards Development Organizations ("SDOs"), including cellular and other wireless communications and video technology standards. Those wireless standards include 3G, 4G and the IEEE 802 suite of standards, as well as patents and patent applications that we believe are or may become essential to 5G standards that currently exist and as they continue to develop. Our video technology portfolio includes patents and applications relating to standards established by ISO/IEC Moving Picture Expert Group (MPEG), the ITU-T Video Coding Expert Group (VCEG), the Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding (JCT-VC) and the Joint Video Expert Team (JVET), among others.
Our wireless portfolio has largely been built through internal development, supplemented by joint development projects with other companies, and select acquisitions of patents and companies. Products incorporating our patented inventions in wireless include: mobile devices, such as cellular phones, tablets, notebook computers and wireless personal digital assistants; wireless infrastructure equipment, such as base stations; components, dongles and modules for wireless devices; and Internet of Things ("IoT") devices and software platforms. Our video technology portfolio largely represents patents and applications that InterDigital obtained through the Technicolor Patent Acquisition, supplemented by internal development. Our patented inventions in video are incorporated in a range of products and services, including cellular phones, notebook computers, televisions, gaming consoles, set-top boxes, streaming devices and other consumer electronics.     
Revenue
In 2020, 2019, and 2018, our total revenues were $359.0 million, $318.9 million, and $307.4 million, respectively. Our recurring revenues in 2020, 2019 and 2018 were $336.8 million, $298.2 million, and $280.3 million, respectively. In 2020, 2019, and 2018, we recognized $21.6 million, $19.8 million and $26.3 million, respectively, of non-current patent royalties as more fully discussed below. In 2020, fixed-fee royalties accounted for approximately 89% of our recurring revenues. These fixed-fee revenues are not affected by the related licensees’ success in the market or the general economic climate. The majority of the remaining portion of our recurring revenue was variable in nature due to the per-unit structure of the related license agreements.
New Agreements
Direct Licenses
During first quarter 2020, we entered into a multi-year, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty bearing patent license agreement with Fairphone B.V. (“Fairphone”). The agreement covers Fairphone’s sale of its 3G and 4G handsets.
Also during first quarter 2020, we entered into a multi-year, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty bearing patent license agreement with Humax Co., Ltd. (“Humax”). The agreement covers the sale of Humax’s HEVC digital set-top boxes.
During second quarter 2020, we entered into a multi-year, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-bearing patent license with Huawei Investment & Holding Co., Ltd. (“Huawei”). In addition to agreement on terms for dismissal of the litigations and other proceedings between the parties, the agreement covers the sale of certain of Huawei’s 3G, 4G, and 5G terminal unit products, including the use of Wi-Fi and HEVC in those products.
During fourth quarter 2020, we entered into a multi-year, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-bearing patent license with a mobile handset company covering 3G and 4G handsets, as well as 802.11 and HEVC technologies incorporated into such products.
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Also during fourth quarter 2020, we entered into a multi-year, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-bearing, patent license agreement with Blu Products, Inc. (“Blu”). The agreement covers Blu’s sale of its 3G, 4G and 5G handsets, including the use of Wi-Fi and HEVC in those products.
Licenses Through Platforms
During third quarter 2020, as part of the Madison Arrangement, we entered into a non-exclusive, royalty-bearing patent license agreement with a manufacturer covering certain of the licensee’s sales of digital televisions in U.S., Mexico, and Canada.
Refer to the "Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates Revenue Recognition" section below for details of our revenue recognition accounting policies and additional information on agreements with multiple performance obligations, as well as the estimates and methods used to determine the fair value of patents acquired, when applicable.
Expiration of License Agreements
Our patent license agreements with seven licensees expired during 2020, including LG. Collectively, all seven agreements accounted for $38.0 million, or approximately 11% of our recurring revenue in 2020, including LG who contributed $31.8 million, or approximately 9%, of our recurring revenue in 2020. In January 2021, it was reported that LG confirmed that it is considering exiting the smartphone market.
Our patent license agreements with six licensees are scheduled to expire during 2021. Collectively, all six agreements expiring in 2021 accounted for $30.3 million, or approximately 9%, of our recurring revenue in 2020.
We are actively working to renew these agreements consistent with the licensees' current product utilization and market position.
Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement
If we believe a party is required to license our patents in order to manufacture, use and/or sell certain products and such party refuses to do so, we typically offer such party to have royalty rates, or other terms, set by third party adjudicators (such as arbitrators). If the party refuses that offer and we believe they are unwilling to agree to a patent license on a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory basis, we may have no other viable recourse but to institute legal action against them to enforce our patent rights. This legal action has typically taken the form of a patent infringement lawsuit or an administrative proceeding. In addition, we and our licensees, in the normal course of business, might seek to resolve disagreements as to the rights and obligations of the parties under the applicable license agreement through arbitration or litigation. Such legal actions ultimately may be decided by the presiding court, third party adjudicator, or a negotiated resolution between the parties.
In 2019 we were engaged in litigation with ZTE, Huawei, and Lenovo. During 2020, we filed patent infringement actions against Xiaomi. The matters are more fully discussed in Note 12, “Litigation and Legal Proceedings,” to the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included below in Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K and/or our 2019 Form 10-K. We filed these actions after lengthy periods of negotiation and after the refusal of our counterparties to accept our various proposals to them, including our proposal to have a third party adjudicator set a royalty rate and resolve certain other terms upon which we could not mutually agree. We negotiated resolutions to the matters involving ZTE and Huawei in December 2019 and April 2020, respectively, while our matters with Lenovo and Xiaomi continue to proceed.
In 2020, our intellectual property enforcement costs increased to $28.6 million, from $25.4 million and $17.6 million in 2019 and 2018, respectively. These costs represented 17% of our total patent administration and licensing costs of $170.2 million in 2020. Intellectual property enforcement costs will vary depending upon activity levels, and it is likely they will continue to be a significant expense for us in the future.
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Cash and Short-Term Investments
As of December 31, 2020, we had $0.9 billion of cash, restricted cash and short-term investments and up to an additional $227.8 million of payments due under signed agreements, including $16.0 million recorded in accounts receivable which includes estimates related to our fourth quarter 2020 variable patent royalty revenue. A portion of our cash and short-term investments include fixed royalty payments we have received related to revenue we will record in the future. As a result, our future cash receipts from existing licenses subject to fixed patent royalties will be lower than if the royalty payments were structured to coincide with the underlying sales. During 2020, we recorded $377.8 million of cash receipts related to patent licensing and technology solutions agreements as follows (in thousands):
 Cash In
Patent royalties$366,237 
Technology solutions11,521 
Total cash receipts$377,758 
As of December 31, 2020, approximately $326.2 million of our $328.0 million deferred revenue balance as of December 31, 2020 related to dynamic fixed-fee royalty payments that were scheduled to amortize as follows (in thousands):
2021$192,146 
202291,411 
202342,654 
2024— 
2025— 
Thereafter— 
Total fixed-fee royalty deferred revenue$326,211 
Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic
In March 2020, the World Health Organization categorized the novel coronavirus ("COVID-19") as a pandemic, and it continues to significantly impact the United States and the rest of the world. Though the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken to reduce its transmission, such as the imposition of social distancing and orders to work-from-home and shelter-in-place, have altered our business environment and overall working conditions, we continue to believe that our strategic strengths, including talent, our strong balance sheet, stable revenue base, and the strength of our patent portfolio, will allow us to weather a rapidly changing marketplace.
While the environment in which we conduct our business and our overall working conditions have changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we experienced a limited impact on our operations and financial position during fiscal year 2020. Fixed-fee royalties accounted for 89% of our revenues in 2020. These fixed-fee revenues are not directly affected by our related licensees’ success in the market or the general economic climate. To that end, in fiscal year 2020, we did not experience a significant impact on our revenue due to COVID-19. Meanwhile, we have taken steps to protect the health and safety of our employees and their families, with our entire worldwide workforce continuing to work remotely with limited exceptions. Despite these remote working conditions, our business activities have continued to operate with minimal interruption, and we expect them to continue to operate efficiently. Nearly all work-related travel continues to remain suspended, and we have conducted our licensing negotiations, investor presentations and participation in standards organizations and industry events virtually. Between March 12, 2020, when we began to work almost entirely remotely, and December 31, 2020, we successfully concluded five new patent license agreements that we estimate will result in revenues exceeding $170.0 million over the two to four year terms of those agreements. Our financial position remains strong, we have sufficient access to capital if needed, and we remain committed to our efforts around cost discipline.
Comparability of Financial Results
When comparing our 2020 financial results against the financial results of other periods, the following items should be taken into consideration:
the Technicolor Patent Acquisition and the R&I Acquisition, which closed on July 30, 2018 and May 31, 2019, respectively, contributed $20.5 million to our 2020 revenue and $69.4 million to our 2020 operating expenses. The $69.4 million of operating expenses is comprised of $64.6 million of recurring costs, of which $17.4 million relates to patent amortization, $2.3 million relates to one-time transaction-related and integration costs, and $2.5 million relates to revenue sharing from the Madison Arrangement;
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a net $5.6 million gain, primarily resulting from observable price changes in orderly transactions of our long-term strategic investments, which was included within “Other Income, Net” in the consolidated statement of income;
a $8.1 million of charges related to disposal of assets, primarily patents as part of on-going patent portfolio management and shutting down our San Diego office, which is included in "Operating Expenses" in the consolidated statement of income;
our 2020 revenue includes $21.6 million of non-recurring revenue, which primarily relates to the Huawei PLA discussed above; and
the 2020 tax provision includes discrete benefits of $20.9 million, which primarily relates to the expected amendment of a prior year tax return to utilize a tax asset generated in the current year, as well as the reversal of a tax reserve.
Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates
Our consolidated financial statements are based on the selection and application of GAAP, which require us to make estimates and assumptions that affect the amounts reported in both our consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes. Future events and their effects cannot be determined with absolute certainty. Therefore, the determination of estimates requires the exercise of judgment. Actual results could differ from these estimates and any such differences may be material to the financial statements. Our significant accounting policies are described in Note 2, "Summary of Significant Accounting Policies and New Accounting Guidance" within the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K. We believe the accounting policies that are of particular importance to the portrayal of our financial condition and results and that may involve a higher degree of complexity and judgment in their application compared to others are those relating to revenue recognition, compensation, business combinations and goodwill, and income taxes. If different assumptions were made or different conditions existed, our financial results could have been materially different.
Revenue Recognition
We derive the vast majority of our revenue from patent licensing. The timing and amount of revenue recognized from each licensee depends upon a variety of factors, including the specific terms of each agreement and the nature of the deliverables and obligations. Such agreements are often complex and include multiple performance obligations. These agreements can include, without limitation, performance obligations related to the settlement of past patent infringement liabilities, patent and/or know-how licensing royalties on covered products sold by licensees, access to a portfolio of technology as it exists at a point in time, and access to a portfolio of technology at a point in time along with promises to provide any technology updates to the portfolio during the term.
In accordance with US GAAP, we use a five-step model to achieve the core underlying principle that an entity should recognize revenue to depict the transfer of goods or services to customers at an amount that the entity expects to be entitled to in exchange for those goods or services. These steps include (1) identifying the contract with the customer, (2) identifying the performance obligations, (3) determining the transaction price, (4) allocating the transaction price to the performance obligations, and (5) recognizing revenue as the entity satisfies the performance obligation(s). Additionally, we have elected to utilize certain practical expedients in the application of ASC 606. In evaluating the presence of a significant financing component in our agreements, we utilize the practical expedient to exclude any contracts wherein the gap between payment by our customers and the delivery of our performance obligation is less than one year. We have also elected to utilize the practical expedient related to costs of obtaining a contract where an entity may recognize the incremental costs of obtaining a contract as an expense when incurred if the amortization period of the asset that the entity otherwise would have recognized is one year or less. Timing of revenue recognition may differ significantly from the timing of invoicing to customers. Contract assets are included in accounts receivable and represent unbilled amounts expected to be received from customers in future periods, where the revenue recognized to date exceeds the amount billed, and right to payment is subject to the underlying contractual terms. Contract assets are classified as long-term assets if the payments are expected to be received more than one year from the reporting date. Contract assets due within less than twelve months of the balance sheet date are included within accounts receivable in our consolidated balance sheets. Contract assets due more than twelve months after the balance sheet date are included within other non-current assets.
Patent License Agreements
Upon signing a patent license agreement, we provide the licensee permission to use our patented inventions in specific applications. We account for patent license agreements in accordance with the guidance indicated above. Certain patent license agreements contain revenue from non-financial sources in the form of patents received from the customer. Under our patent license agreements, we typically receive one or a combination of the following forms of payment as consideration for permitting our licensees to use our patented inventions in their applications and products:
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Consideration for Past Patent Royalties
Consideration related to a licensee’s product sales from prior periods may result from a negotiated agreement with a licensee that utilized our patented inventions prior to signing a patent license agreement with us or from the resolution of a disagreement or arbitration with a licensee over the specific terms of an existing license agreement. We may also receive consideration for past patent royalties in connection with the settlement of patent litigation where there was no prior patent license agreement. In each of these cases, we record the consideration as revenue as prescribed by the five-step model.
Fixed-Fee Agreements
Fixed-fee license agreements include fixed, non-refundable royalty payments that fulfill the licensee’s obligations to us under a patent license agreement for a specified time period or for the term of the agreement for specified products, under certain patents or patent claims, for sales in certain countries, or a combination thereof - in each case for a specified time period (including for the life of the patents licensed under the agreement).
Dynamic fixed-fee license agreements contain a single performance obligation that represents ongoing access to a portfolio of technology over the license term, since our promise to transfer to the licensee access to the portfolio as it exists at inception of the license, along with promises to provide any technology updates to the portfolio during the term, are not separately identifiable. Upon entering a new agreement, we allocate the transaction price to the performance obligations delivered at signing (e.g. our existing patent portfolio) and future performance obligations (e.g. the technology updates). We use a time-based input method of progress to determine the timing of revenue recognition, and as such we recognize the future deliverables on a straight-line basis over the term of the agreement. We utilize the straight-line method as we believe that it best depicts efforts expended to develop and transfer updates to the customer evenly throughout the term of the agreement.
Static fixed-fee license agreements are fixed-price contracts that generally do not include updates to technology we create after the inception of the license agreement or in which the customer does not stand to substantively benefit from those updates during the term. Although we have few static fixed-fee license agreements, we generally satisfy our performance obligations under such agreements at contract signing, and as such revenue is recognized at that time.
Variable Agreements
Upon entering a new variable patent license agreement, the licensee typically agrees to pay royalties or license fees on licensed products sold during the term of the agreement. We utilize the sales- or usage- based royalty exception for these agreements and recognize revenues during the contract term when the underlying sale or usage occurs. Our licensees under variable agreements provide us with quarterly royalty reports that summarize their sales of covered products and their related royalty obligations to us. We typically receive these royalty reports subsequent to the period in which our licensees’ underlying sales occurred. As a result, we are required to estimate revenues, subject to the constraint on our ability to estimate such amounts.
Technology Solutions
Technology solutions revenue consists of revenue from royalty payments, software licenses, engineering services and product sales. The nature of these contracts and timing of payments vary. We recognize revenue from royalty payments and license agreements using the same methods described above under our policy for recognizing revenue from patent license agreements. We recognize revenue from engineering services using percentage of completion method.
Patent Sales
Our business strategy of monetizing our intellectual property includes the sale of select patent assets. As patent sales executed under this strategy represent a component of our ongoing major or central operations and activities, we will record the related proceeds as revenue. We will recognize the revenue in accordance with the five-step model, generally upon closing of the patent sale transaction.
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Agreements with Multiple Performance Obligations
During 2020, we signed five new agreement that had multiple performance obligations. Consistent with the revenue recognition policies disclosed above, we (1) identified the contract with the customer, (2) identified the performance obligations, (3) determined the transaction price, (4) allocated the transaction price to the performance obligations, and (5) recognized revenue as we satisfy the performance obligations. We allocated the transaction price to each performance obligation for accounting purposes using our best estimate of the term and value. The process for determining the value of the standalone selling prices of identified performance obligations in dynamic fixed-fee license agreements requires the exercise of significant judgment when evaluating the valuation methods and assumptions, including the assumed royalty rates, projected sales volumes, discount rate, identification of comparable market transactions which are not directly observable and other relevant factors. Changes in any of a number of these assumptions could have had a substantial impact on the relative fair value assigned to each performance obligation for accounting purposes. These inputs and assumptions represent management's best estimates at the time of the transaction.
The impact that a five percent change in the aggregate amount allocated to past patent royalties under these agreements would have had on 2020 revenue is summarized in the following table (in thousands):
Change in amount allocated
Allocation to past patent royalties+5%-%5
Change in Revenue$7,008 $(7,008)
Revenue from Non-financial Sources
During 2020, 2019 and 2018, our patent licensing royalties were derived from patent license agreements ("PLAs") with 76, 69 and 66 independent licensees, respectively. We recognized revenue from five, four and three PLAs in 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively, for which patents generally comprised less than forty-percent of the total consideration paid or due to us under those agreements. In addition, during 2020, 2019 and 2018, we recognized revenue from one PLA that was executed in 2014 in connection with a patent purchase agreement ("PPA") with the licensee. Total cash paid to our licensee under this PPA is approximately 56% of the total cash due to us under this licensee's PLA. During 2020, 2019 and 2018, approximately 7%, 6% and 3%, respectively, of our total revenue was based on the estimated fair value of the patents in the above transactions.
The process for determining the value of revenue from non-financial sources requires estimating the fair value of patents received. We estimated the fair value of the patents in the above transactions using one of, or a combination of, an analysis of comparable market transactions (the market approach), a discounted cash flow analysis (the income approach) and/or by quantifying the amount of money required to replace the future service capability of the assets (the cost approach). For the market approach, judgment was applied as to which market transactions were most comparable to the transaction. For the income approach, the inputs and assumptions used to develop these estimates were based on a market participant perspective and included estimates of projected royalties, discount rates, economic lives and income tax rates, among others. For the cost approach, we utilized the historical cost of assets of similar technologies to determine the estimated replacement cost, including research, development, testing and patent application fees. The development of a number of these inputs and assumptions requires a significant amount of management judgment and is based upon a number of factors, including identification of comparable market transactions, assumed royalty rates, projected sales volumes, economic lives of the patents and other relevant factors. Changes in any of a number of these assumptions could have had a substantial impact on the fair value assigned to the patents for accounting purposes. These inputs and assumptions represent management's best estimates at the time of the transaction.
The impact that a five-percent change in the estimated aggregate value of the patents acquired would have had on 2020 revenue, patent amortization and pre-tax income is summarized in the following table (in thousands).
Change in estimate
Estimated value of patents acquired in connection with PLAs+5%-%5
Revenue$1,327 $(1,327)
Less: Patent amortization810 (810)
Pre-tax income$517 $(517)

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Compensation Programs
We use a variety of compensation programs to attract, retain and motivate our employees, and to align employee compensation more closely with company performance. These programs include, but are not limited to, short-term incentives tied to performance goals, cash awards to inventors for filed patent applications and patent issuances, and long-term incentives in the form of stock option awards, time-based restricted stock unit (“RSU”) awards, performance-based awards and cash awards, noting equity awards are granted pursuant to the terms and conditions of our Equity Plans (as defined within the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K). Our long-term incentives, including equity awards, typically include annual equity and cash award grants with three to five year vesting periods; as a result, in any one year, we are typically accounting for at least three active cycles.
The aggregate amount of performance compensation expense we record in a period, under both short-term and long-term incentive compensation programs, requires the input of subjective assumptions and is a function of our estimated progress toward performance compensation goals at both the beginning and the end of the period. Our estimated progress toward goals under performance equity grants is based on meeting a minimum confidence level in accordance with accounting rules for share-based compensation. Achievement rates can vary by performance cycle and from period to period, resulting in variability in our compensation expense.
If we had accrued all performance compensation costs throughout 2020 on the assumption that all plans and active cycles thereunder would be paid out at 100%, we would have recorded approximately $4.5 million more in compensation expense in 2020 than we actually recorded.
We account for compensation costs associated with share-based compensation based on the fair value of the instruments issued. The estimated value of stock options includes assumptions around expected life, stock volatility and dividends. The expected life of our stock option awards is based on the simplified method as prescribed by Staff Accounting Bulletin Topic 14. In all periods, our policy has been to set the value of RSUs and restricted stock awards equal to the value of our underlying common stock on the date of measurement. For grants with graded vesting, we amortize the associated unrecognized compensation cost using an accelerated method. For grants that cliff vest, we amortize the associated unrecognized compensation cost on a straight-line basis over their vesting term.
In the event of canceled awards, we adjust compensation expense recognized to date as they occur. Tax windfalls and shortfalls related to the tax effects of employee share-based compensation are included in our tax provision. On the consolidated statements of cash flows, tax windfalls and shortfalls related to employee share-based compensation awards are included within operating activities and cash paid to tax authorities for shares withheld are included within financing activities. The inclusion of windfalls and shortfalls in the tax provision could increase our earnings volatility between periods. Tax windfalls related to share-based compensation for the years ended 2020, 2019 and 2018 were $0.2 million, $0.2 million and $1.8 million, respectively.
The below table summarizes our supplemental compensation expense for 2020, 2019 and 2018, in thousands:
202020192018
Short-term incentive compensation$16,166 $14,129 $13,045 
Time-based awards (a)
6,668 6,327 5,985 
Performance-based awards (a)
2,347 299 1,415 
Other share-based compensation2,580 1,307 1,768 
Total supplemental compensation expense$27,761 $22,062 $22,213 
(a) For 2020, 2019 and 2018, approximately 12%, 5%, and 28%, respectively, of the aggregate expense associated with time-based and performance-based awards related to cash awards.
Business Combinations and Goodwill
Acquisitions that qualify as a business combination are accounted for using the acquisition method of accounting. The fair value of consideration transferred for an acquisition is allocated to the assets acquired and liabilities assumed based on their fair value as of the acquisition date. Goodwill is recorded as the difference, if any, between the aggregate consideration paid for an acquisition and the fair value of the net tangible and identified intangible assets acquired under a business combination.
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Under the acquisition method of accounting, the Company completes valuation procedures for an acquisition to determine the fair value of the assets acquired and liabilities assumed. These valuation procedures require management to make assumptions and apply significant judgment to estimate the fair value of the assets acquired and liabilities assumed. If the estimates or assumptions used should significantly change, the resulting differences could materially affect the fair value of net assets. We estimate the fair value of the intangible assets acquired generally through a combination of a discounted cash flow analysis (the income approach) and an analysis of comparable market transactions (the market approach). For the income approach, we base the inputs and assumptions used to develop these estimates on a market participant perspective which includes estimates of projected revenues, discount rates, economic lives and income tax rates, among others, all of which require significant management judgment. For the market approach, we apply judgment to identify the most comparable market transactions to the transaction. Definite-lived intangible assets, which are primarily comprised of patents, are amortized over their estimated useful lives using the straight-line method and are assessed for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate the carrying value of the asset may not be recoverable.
Goodwill is not amortized but is reviewed for impairment annually on the first day of the fourth quarter, or when events or changes in the business environment indicate that the carrying value of a reporting unit may exceed its fair value. We first assess qualitative factors to determine whether it is more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying amount as a basis for determining whether a quantitative goodwill impairment test is necessary. If we conclude it is more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit exceeds its carrying amount, we need not perform the quantitative assessment. If based on the qualitative assessment we believe it is more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying value, a quantitative assessment test is required to be performed. This assessment requires us to compare the fair value of each reporting unit to its carrying value including allocated goodwill. We determine the fair value of our reporting units generally using a combination of the income and market approaches. If the carrying value of a reporting unit exceeds the reporting unit’s fair value, a goodwill impairment charge will be recorded for the difference up to the carrying value of goodwill.
Income Taxes
Income taxes are accounted for under the asset and liability method. Under this method, deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for the estimated future tax consequences attributable to differences between the financial statement carrying amounts of existing assets and liabilities and their respective tax bases, and operating loss and tax credit carry forwards. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are measured using enacted tax rates in effect for the year in which those temporary differences are expected to be recovered or settled. The effect on deferred tax assets and liabilities of a change in tax rates is recognized in the consolidated statement of income in the period in which the change was enacted. A valuation allowance is recorded to reduce the carrying amounts of deferred tax assets if management has determined that it is more likely than not that such assets will not be realized.
In addition, the calculation of tax liabilities involves significant judgment in estimating the impact of uncertainties in the application of complex tax laws. We are subject to examinations by the U.S. IRS and other taxing jurisdictions on various tax matters, including challenges to various positions we assert in our filings. In the event that the IRS or another taxing jurisdiction levies an assessment in the future, it is possible the assessment could have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial condition or results of operations.
The financial statement recognition of the benefit for an uncertain tax position is dependent upon the benefit being more likely than not to be sustainable upon audit by the applicable tax authority. If this threshold is met, the tax benefit is then measured and recognized at the largest amount that is greater than 50 percent likely of being realized upon ultimate settlement. In the event that the IRS or another taxing jurisdiction levies an assessment in the future, it is possible the assessment could have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial condition or results of operations.
Between 2014 and 2020, we paid approximately $134.3 million in foreign taxes to foreign governments that have tax treaties with the U.S., for which we have claimed foreign tax credits against our U.S. tax obligations, and for which the tax treaty procedures are still open. It is possible that as a result of tax treaty procedures, the U.S. government may reach an agreement with the related foreign governments that will result in a partial refund of foreign taxes paid with a related reduction in our foreign tax credits. Due to foreign currency fluctuations, any such agreement could result in foreign currency gain or loss.
On November 8, 2019, the Company received notification that its request for competent authority pertaining to Article 25 (Mutual Agreement Procedure) of the United States-Republic of Finland Income Tax Convention had been reviewed by the IRS and an agreement has been reached (the “Finland Competent Authority Proceeding”). As a result of this agreement, the Company does not anticipate any tax consequences.
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On July 24, 2018, the Company received notification that its request for competent authority pertaining to Article 27 (Mutual Agreement 14 Table of Contents Procedure) of the United States-Republic of Korea Income Tax Convention had been reviewed by the IRS and an agreement had been reached (the "Korea Competent Authority Proceeding"). As a result of this agreement, the Company received refunds of $97.4 million, inclusive of interest. In addition, we have recorded a net tax benefit of $14.7 million in our full year 2018. In September 2019, the amended tax returns for tax years covered by this agreement were filed and an additional benefit of $2.2 million was recorded related to the final refund the Company expects to receive.
New Accounting Guidance
Refer to Note 2, "Summary of Significant Accounting Policies and New Accounting Guidance" within the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K for a discussion of recently issued accounting guidance.
Legal Proceedings
We are routinely involved in disputes associated with enforcement and licensing activities regarding our intellectual property, including litigations, arbitrations and other proceedings. These litigations, arbitrations and other proceedings are important means to enforce our intellectual property rights. We are a party to other disputes and legal actions not related to our intellectual property, but also arising in the ordinary course of our business. Refer to Note 12, “Litigation and Legal Proceedings,” to the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included below in Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K for a description of our material legal proceedings.
FINANCIAL POSITION, LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES
Our primary sources of liquidity are cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments, as well as cash generated from operations. We believe we have the ability to obtain additional liquidity through debt and equity financings. Based on our past performance and current expectations, we believe our available sources of funds, including cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments and cash generated from our operations, will be sufficient to finance our operations, capital requirements, debt obligations, existing stock repurchase program and dividend program for the next twelve months.
Cash, cash equivalents, restricted cash and short-term investments
As of December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019, we had the following amounts of cash, cash equivalents, restricted cash and short-term investments (in thousands):
December 31, 2020December 31, 2019Increase / (Decrease)
Cash and cash equivalents$473,474 $745,491 $(272,017)
Restricted cash included within prepaid and other current assets3,108 10,526 (7,418)
Restricted cash included within other non-current assets1,081 1,081 — 
Short-term investments453,173 179,204 273,969 
Total cash, cash equivalents, restricted cash and short-term investments$930,836 $936,302 $(5,466)
The net decrease in cash, cash equivalents, restricted cash and short-term investments was attributable to cash used in financing activities of $132.9 million and cash used in investing activities, excluding sales and purchases of short-term investments, of $37.2 million. These uses were partially offset by cash provided by operating activities of $163.5 million. Cash used in financing activities primarily related to repayment of our 2020 Notes, and dividend payments. Cash used in investing activities, excluding sales and purchases of short-term investments, primarily related to capital investments for patents and fixed assets. Refer to the sections below for further discussion of these items.
Cash flows from operations
We generated the following cash flows from our operating activities in 2020 and 2019 (in thousands):
 For the Year Ended December 31,
20202019Increase / (Decrease)
Cash flows provided by operating activities$163,467 $89,433 $74,034 
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Our cash flows provided by operating activities are principally derived from cash receipts from patent license and technology solutions agreements, offset by cash operating expenses and income tax payments. The $74.0 million change in net cash provided by operating activities was primarily driven by higher cash receipts primarily related to new patent license agreements signed over the last twelve months, as well as the timing of cash receipts related to patent license agreements. The table below sets forth the significant items comprising our cash flows provided by operating activities during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 (in thousands).
For the Year Ended December 31,
 20202019Increase / (Decrease)
Cash Receipts:
Patent royalties$366,237 $288,123 $78,114 
Technology solutions11,521 7,053 4,468 
Total cash receipts$377,758 $295,176 $82,582 
Cash Outflows:
Cash operating expenses (a)
(204,801)(195,682)(9,119)
Income taxes paid, net of refunds (b)
(26,233)(24,229)(2,004)
Total cash outflows(231,034)(219,911)(11,123)
Other working capital adjustments (c)
16,743 14,168 2,575 
Cash flows provided by operating activities$163,467 $89,433 $74,034 
(a) Cash operating expenses include operating expenses less depreciation of fixed assets, amortization of patents, and non-cash compensation.
(b) Income taxes paid include foreign withholding taxes.
(c) Working capital includes $69.6 million of tax receivables at December 31, 2020, compared to $38.0 million at December 31, 2019.
Cash provided by or used in investing and financing activities
Net cash used in investing activities in 2020 was $310.0 million, a $578.3 million change from $268.3 million net cash provided by investing activities in 2019. During 2020, we purchased $272.8 million of short-term marketable securities, net of sales and received net proceeds of $4.3 million from our long-term strategic investments. During 2019, we sold $296.6 million of short-term marketable securities, net of purchases and also received initial proceeds of $10.0 million related to the sale of our Hillcrest product business.
Net cash used in financing activities for 2020 was $132.9 million, a $43.5 million change from net cash used in financing activities of $89.3 million in 2019. This change was primarily attributable to net proceeds of $140.2 million from the debt refinancing (net of related expenses) and $15.7 million proceeds from non-controlling interests received in 2019. These activities were partially offset by a reduction of $195.9 million in share repurchases, a $94.9 million payment on long-term debt related to the repayment of our 2020 Notes, and $5.3 million of proceeds from non-controlling interests received in 2020.
Other
Our combined short-term and long-term deferred revenue balance at December 31, 2020 was approximately $328.0 million, an increase of $57.7 million from December 31, 2019. Based on current license agreements, we expect the amortization of dynamic fixed-fee royalty payments to reduce the December 31, 2020 deferred revenue balance of $328.0 million by $192.1 million over the next twelve months.
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Convertible Notes
Our Convertible Notes are included in the dilutive earnings per share calculation using the treasury stock method. Under the treasury stock method, we must calculate the number of shares of common stock issuable under the terms of the 2024 Notes (as defined herein) based on the average market price of our common stock during the applicable reporting period and include that number in the total diluted shares figure for the period. At the time we issued the 2024 Notes, we entered into the 2024 Call Spread Transactions (defined in the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K). The 2024 Call Spread Transactions were designed to have the economic effect of reducing the net number of shares that will be issued in excess of the principal amount of converted Notes in the event of conversion of the 2024 Notes if the market price per share of our common stock is greater than the strike price of the 2024 Note Hedge Transactions by, in effect, increasing the conversion price of the 2024 Notes from our economic standpoint. However, under GAAP, since the impact of the 2024 Note Hedge Transactions (the "Note Hedge Transactions") is anti-dilutive, we exclude from the calculation of fully diluted shares the number of shares of our common stock that we would receive from the counterparties to these agreements upon settlement.
During periods in which the average market price of our common stock is above the applicable conversion price of the 2024 Notes ($81.29 per share as of December 31, 2020) or above the strike price of the warrants ($109.43 per share for the 2024 Warrant Transactions as of December 31, 2020), the impact of conversion or exercise, as applicable, would be dilutive and such dilutive effect is reflected in diluted earnings per share. As a result, in periods where the average market price of our common stock is above the conversion price or strike price, as applicable, under the treasury stock method, we calculate the number of shares issuable under the terms of the 2024 Notes and the warrants based on the average market price of the stock during the period, and include that number in the total diluted shares outstanding for the period.
Under the treasury stock method, changes in the price per share of our common stock can have a significant impact on the number of shares that we must include in the fully diluted earnings per share calculation. As described in Note 10, "Obligations" within the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K, as of December 30, 2020, we made the irrevocable election to settle all conversions of the 2024 Notes through a combination settlement of cash and shares of common stock, with a specified dollar amount of $1,000 per $1,000 principal amount of the 2024 Notes and any remaining amounts in shares ("net share settlement"). Assuming net share settlement upon conversion, the following table illustrates how, based on the $400.0 million aggregate principal amount of the 2024 Notes as of December 31, 2020, and the approximately 4.9 million warrants related to the 2024 Notes, outstanding as of the same date, changes in our stock price would affect (i) the number of shares issuable upon conversion of the 2024 Notes, (ii) the number of shares issuable upon exercise of the warrants subject to the 2024 Warrant Transactions (the "Warrant Transaction"), (iii) the number of additional shares deemed outstanding with respect to the 2024 Notes, after applying the treasury stock method, for purposes of calculating diluted earnings per share ("Total Treasury Stock Method Incremental Shares"), (iv) the number of shares of common stock deliverable to us upon settlement of the Note Hedge Transactions, and (v) the number of shares issuable upon concurrent conversion of the Convertible Note, exercise of the warrants subject to the Warrant Transactions, and settlement of the Note Hedge Transactions (shares in thousands):
2024 Notes
Market Price Per ShareShares Issuable Upon Conversion of the 2024 NotesShares Issuable Upon Exercise of the 2024 Warrant TransactionsTotal Treasury Stock Method Incremental SharesShares Deliverable to InterDigital upon Settlement of the 2024 Note Hedge Transactions
Incremental Shares Issuable (a)
$85215215(215)
$90476476(476)
$95710710(710)
$100921921(921)
$1051,1111,111(1,111)
$1101,284251,309(1,284)25
$1151,4422381,680(1,442)238
$1201,5874332,020(1,587)433
$1251,7216132,334(1,721)613
$1301,8447792,623(1,844)779
(a) Represents incremental shares issuable upon concurrent conversion of convertible notes, exercise of warrants and settlement of the hedge agreements.
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Contractual Obligations
We issued $400.0 million in aggregate principal amount of 2.00% Senior Convertible Notes due 2024 ("the 2024 Notes"). The 2024 Notes bear interest at a rate of 2.00% per year, payable in cash on June 1 and December 1 of each year, commencing on December 1, 2019, and mature on June 1, 2024, unless earlier converted or repurchased.    
For more information on the 2024 Notes, see Note 10, “Obligations,” within the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K.     
The following table summarizes our contractual obligations as of December 31, 2020 (in thousands):
 Payments Due by Period
TotalLess Than
1 year
1-3 Years3-5 YearsThereafter
2024 Notes$400,000 $— $— $400,000 $— 
Contractual interest payments on the 2024 Notes27,356 8,000 16,000 3,356 — 
Operating lease obligations31,102 4,024 10,190 8,093 8,795 
Defined benefit plan obligations (a)4,693 229 928 837 2,699 
Purchase obligations (b)15,830 15,830 — — — 
Total contractual obligations$478,981 $28,083 $27,118 $412,286 $11,494 
    
(a)Refer to Note 5, "Business Combinations and Other Transactions," within the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K for details of our defined benefit plan obligations. Estimated future benefit payments included above are through 2030.
(b)Purchase obligations consist of agreements to purchase goods and services that are legally binding on us, as well as accounts payable. Our consolidated balance sheet as of December 31, 2020 includes a $3.8 million non-current liability for uncertain tax positions. The future payments related to uncertain tax positions have not been presented in the table above due to the uncertainty of the amounts and timing of cash settlement with the taxing authorities.
As of December 31, 2020, we have recorded long-term debt of $24.2 million related to the Technicolor Patent Acquisition. Additionally, we are subject to a revenue-sharing arrangement with Technicolor resulting from the Technicolor Acquisitions. There is no liability associated with the revenue-share agreement at December 31, 2020 as there are no minimum or maximum payments under the revenue-sharing arrangement, and, except in certain circumstances, the arrangement continues through December 31, 2038. Refer to Note 5, "Business Combinations and Other Transactions," within the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K for further information. Due to the uncertainty regarding the timing and amount of future payments related to these items, the amounts are excluded from the contractual obligations table above.
Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements
We do not have any off-balance sheet arrangements as defined by Item 303(a)(4) of Regulation S-K.
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RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
2020 Compared with 2019
Revenues
The following table compares 2020 revenues to 2019 revenues (in thousands):
For the Year Ended December 31,
 20202019 Total Increase/(Decrease)
Variable patent royalty revenue$26,587 $30,428 $(3,841)(13)%
Fixed-fee royalty revenue298,461 257,221 41,240 16 %
Current patent royalties a
325,048 287,649 37,399 13 %
Non-current patent royalties b
21,582 19,782 1,800 %
Total patent royalties346,630 307,431 39,199 13 %
Current technology solutions revenue a
11,761 10,518 1,243 12 %
Patent sales b
600 975 (375)(38)%
Total revenue$358,991 $318,924 $40,067 13 %
(a)    Recurring revenues are comprised of current patent royalties, inclusive of Dynamic Fixed-Fee Agreement royalties, and current technology solutions revenue.
(b)    Non-recurring revenues are comprised of non-current patent royalties, which primarily include past patent royalties and royalties from static agreements, as well as patent sales.
The $40.1 million increase in total revenue was primarily driven by a $38.6 million increase in recurring revenue and a $1.8 million a increase in non-current patent royalties both primarily driven by ten new patent license agreements signed over the last fifteen months, including Huawei and ZTE. The increase in non-current patent royalties was also due to the inclusion of a $5.5 million net charge recorded as contra non-recurring revenue during 2019 related to a restructured licensing arrangement with a long-term customer.
In 2020 and 2019, 68% and 70% of our total revenues, respectively, were attributable to companies that individually accounted for 10% or more of our total revenues. In 2020 and 2019, the following licensees or customers accounted for 10% or more of our total revenues:
For the Year Ended December 31,
 20202019
Apple31%35%
Samsung22%25%
Huawei15%—%
LG< 10%10%
Operating Expenses
The following table summarizes the change in operating expenses by category (in thousands):
For the Year Ended December 31,
 20202019Increase/(Decrease)
Patent administration and licensing$170,178 $154,940 $15,238 10 %
Development84,646 74,860 9,786 13 %
Selling, general and administrative48,999 51,289 (2,290)(4)%
Total operating expenses$303,823 $281,089 $22,734 %
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Operating expenses increased 8% to $303.8 million in 2020 from $281.1 million in 2019. The $22.7 million increase in total operating expenses was primarily due to increases/(decreases) in the following items (in thousands):
 Increase/(Decrease)
Recurring operations of the Technicolor Acquisitions$15,656 
One-time costs related to the Technicolor Acquisitions(6,066)
Revenue sharing for Madison Arrangement (3,775)
Non-cash charge of patents disposed7,539 
Performance-based incentive compensation4,246 
Corporate initiatives4,017 
Intellectual property enforcement and non-patent litigation3,182 
Amortization1,648 
Personnel-related costs(4,524)
Other811 
Total increase in operating expenses$22,734 
The $22.7 million increase in operating expenses was primarily driven by the Technicolor Acquisitions, which contributed $69.4 million to 2020 operating expenses following our May 2019 R&I Acquisition and July 2018 Technicolor Patent Acquisition. This compares to $63.0 million of operating expenses in 2019. The $69.4 million of operating expenses in 2020 resulting from the Technicolor Acquisitions is comprised of $64.6 million of recurring costs, of which $17.4 million relates to patent amortization. The remaining $4.8 million of operating expenses relates to $2.3 million of transaction and integration costs during 2020 and $2.5 million of revenue sharing for the Madison Arrangement. The $63.0 million of operating expenses in 2019 resulting from the Technicolor Patent Acquisition was comprised of $48.3 million of recurring costs, of which $16.6 million related to patent amortization. The remaining $14.7 million of operating expenses relates to $8.4 million of transaction and integration costs and $6.3 million of revenue sharing for the Madison Arrangement.
In 2020, we had a one-time $7.5 million non-cash charge to write-off the remaining book value of patents we disposed of as part of our on-going patent portfolio management. Performance-based incentive compensation increased by $4.2 million, primarily due to increased performance accruals driven by the Huawei PLA signed in 2020. We incurred $4.0 million of additional costs attributable to corporate initiatives as part of its on-going efforts to optimize its cost structure, including the closure of our San Diego office. The $3.2 million increase in intellectual property enforcement costs was primarily driven by the on-going Lenovo and Xiaomi litigations. Amortization expense increased by $1.6 million and was largely driven by patents acquired over the last twelve-months. Lastly, corporate initiatives to optimize our cost structure drove a $4.5 million decrease in personnel-related costs.
Patent administration and licensing expense:  The $15.2 million increase in patent administration and licensing expense primarily resulted from the above-noted increases related to the non-cash charge to write-off the remaining book value of patents we disposed of as part of our on-going patent portfolio management, intellectual property enforcement costs, patent amortization, and performance-based incentive compensation, as well as increased patent maintenance costs.
Development expense:  The $9.8 million increase in development expense primarily resulted from the above-noted increases related to the Technicolor Acquisitions, performance-based compensation and corporate initiatives. These increases were partially offset by lower personnel-related costs, primarily related to our second quarter 2019 sale of the Hillcrest product business and reductions in other non-cellular research areas.
Selling, general and administrative expense:  The $2.3 million decrease in selling, general and administrative expense primarily resulted from the above-noted reduction in personnel-related costs, as well as lower one-time costs associated with the Technicolor Acquisitions. These decreases were partially offset by the above-noted increases in performance-based incentive compensation and corporate initiatives.
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Non-Operating Expense
The following table compares 2020 non-operating income (expense) to 2019 non-operating income (expense) (in thousands):
For the Year Ended December 31,
20202019Change
Interest expense$(40,799)$(40,955)$156 — %
Interest and investment income5,661 13,458 (7,797)(58)%
Gain on asset acquisition and sale of business— 22,690 (22,690)(100)%
Loss on extinguishment of long-term debt— (5,488)5,488 (100)%
Other income (expense), net11,263 (1,598)12,861 (805)%
Total non-operating expense$(23,875)$(11,893)$(11,982)(101)%
The increase in non-operating expense between periods was primarily driven by the recognition of an aggregate $22.7 million gain on asset acquisition and sale of business during the year ended December 31, 2019, of which $14.2 million relates to the R&I Acquisition in second quarter 2019 and $8.5 million relates to the gain on sale of our Hillcrest product business in third quarter 2019. These gains were partially offset by the recognition of a $5.5 million loss on extinguishment of debt recognized in connection with the settlement of a portion of our 2020 Notes in second quarter 2019.
Additionally, during the year ended December 31, 2020, we recognized $5.6 million of gains resulting from observable price changes in orderly transactions of one of our long-term strategic investments. Comparatively, during the year ended December 31, 2019 we recognized a net loss of $2.6 million resulting from the partial impairment of one of our strategic investments partially offset by a gain on sale of a separate strategic investment. These items are included in the "Other income (expense), net" caption in the table above. Interest expense remained flat and relates to interest on the 2024 Notes and interest incurred on long-term debt resulting from the Technicolor Patent Acquisition.
Income Taxes
In 2020, based on the statutory federal tax rate net of discrete federal and state taxes, our effective tax rate is a benefit of 21.2%. The negative effective tax rate was driven by a net benefit of $19.7 million that primarily relates to the expected amendment of a prior year tax return to utilize a tax asset generated in the current year, as well as the reversal of a tax reserve. As a result of the difference in timing between deduction of certain expenses between US GAAP and the tax law, the Company’s estimate of current taxable income is zero. The Company was unable to benefit from the favorable rates associated with Foreign Derived Intangible Income (“FDII”) as a result of having zero taxable income. The current year tax benefit is compared to an effective tax rate provision of 42.4% in 2019. The effective tax rate for 2019 was unfavorably impacted by an $8.0 million provision associated with valuation allowances on the Company’s losses in jurisdictions for which the Company receives no benefit. As a result of the difference in timing between US GAAP revenue and tax revenue, the Company's estimate of current taxable income is zero. The Company was unable to benefit from favorable rates associated with Foreign Derived Intangible Income ("FDII") as a result of having zero taxable income.
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2019 Compared with 2018
Revenues
The following table compares 2019 revenues to 2018 revenues (in thousands):
For the Year Ended December 31,
 20192018 Total Increase/(Decrease)
Variable patent royalty revenue$30,428 $36,384 $(5,956)(16)%
Fixed-fee royalty revenue257,221 239,347 17,874 %
Current patent royalties a
287,649 275,731 11,918 %
Non-current patent royalties b
19,782 26,329 (6,547)(25)%
Total patent royalties307,431 302,060 5,371 %
Current technology solutions revenue a
10,518 4,594 5,924 129 %
Patent sales b
975 750 225 30 %
Total revenue$318,924 $307,404 $11,520 %
(a)     Recurring revenues are comprised of current patent royalties, inclusive of Dynamic Fixed-Fee Agreement royalties, and current technology solutions revenue.
(b)     Non-recurring revenues are comprised of non-current patent royalties, which primarily include past patent royalties and royalties from static agreements, as well as patent sales.
The $11.5 million increase in total revenue was driven by an increase in recurring revenue of $17.8 million, primarily attributable to fixed-fee royalties and current technology solutions revenue. Fixed-fee royalty revenue increased by $17.9 million, primarily resulting from a dynamic fixed-fee agreement signed in each of the fourth quarters of 2018 and 2019. The increase in current technology solutions revenue related to the inclusion of engineering services revenue attributable to our on-going relationship with Technicolor. These increases were partially offset by a decrease variable patent royalties, which was primarily due to a restructured licensing arrangement with a long-term customer in first quarter 2019 whose revenues are now classified as fixed-fee royalty revenue and have declined as compared to prior year. This decrease in variable patent royalties was partially negated by the inclusion of variable patent royalties assumed as part of the Technicolor Patent Acquisition. Additionally, non-current patent royalties decreased by $6.5 million primarily due to a $5.5 million net charge recorded as contra non-recurring revenue during first quarter 2019 related to a restructured licensing arrangement with a long-term customer.
In 2019 and 2018, 70% and 71% of our total revenues, respectively, were attributable to companies that individually accounted for 10% or more of our total revenues. In 2019 and 2018, the following licensees or customers accounted for 10% or more of our total revenues:
For the Year Ended December 31,
 20192018
Apple35%36%
Samsung25%25%
LG10%10%
Operating Expenses
The following table summarizes the change in operating expenses by category (in thousands):
 For the Year Ended December 31,  
 20192018Increase/(Decrease)
Patent administration and licensing$154,940 $124,081 $30,859 25 %
Development74,860 69,698 5,162 %
Selling, general and administrative51,289 51,030 259 %
Total operating expenses$281,089 $244,809 $36,280 15 %
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Operating expenses increased 15% to $281.1 million in 2019 from $244.8 million in 2018. The $36.3 million increase in total operating expenses was primarily due to increases/(decreases) in the following items (in thousands):
 Increase/(Decrease)
Recurring operations of the Technicolor Acquisitions$32,137 
One-time costs related to the Technicolor Acquisitions(9,325)
Revenue sharing for Madison Arrangement 6,260 
Intellectual property enforcement and non-patent litigation7,089 
Personnel-related costs1,203 
Other(1,084)
Total increase in operating expenses$36,280 
The $36.3 million increase in operating expenses was primarily driven by the Technicolor Acquisitions, which contributed $63.0 million to 2019 operating expenses following the R&I Acquisition. This compares to $34.0 million of operating expenses in 2018 following our July 2018 Technicolor Patent Acquisition. The $63.0 million of operating expenses in 2019 resulting from the Technicolor Acquisitions is comprised of $48.3 million of recurring costs, of which $16.6 million relates to patent amortization, $8.4 million relates to transaction and integration costs during 2019, and the remaining $6.3 million relates to revenue sharing for the Madison Arrangement. The $34.0 million of operating expenses in 2018 resulting from the Technicolor Patent Acquisition was comprised of $16.2 million for five months of recurring costs, of which $6.8 million related to patent amortization, and the remaining $17.8 million related to transaction and integration costs. The $7.1 million increase in intellectual property enforcement and non-patent litigation was primarily due to the enforcement proceedings we initiated against Lenovo and Huawei in second half 2019. The increase in personnel-related costs was primarily related to severance and related expenses associated with ongoing efforts to optimize our cost structure, as well as one-time costs associated with the sale of our Hillcrest product business.
Patent administration and licensing expense:  The $30.9 million increase in patent administration and licensing expense primarily resulted from the above-noted increases related to the Technicolor Acquisitions and intellectual property enforcement costs.
Development expense:  The $5.2 million increase in development expense primarily resulted from the above-noted increases related to the Technicolor Acquisitions, as discussed above, partially offset by reduced spending on development of commercial solutions driven by the sale our Hillcrest product business.
Selling, general and administrative expense:  The $0.3 million increase in selling, general and administrative expense primarily resulted from the above-noted increases related to the Technicolor Acquisitions and increased personnel-related costs, discussed above.
Non-Operating Income (Expense)
The following table compares 2019 non-operating income (expense) to 2018 non-operating income (expense) (in thousands):
For the Year Ended December 31,
20192018Change
Interest expense$(40,955)$(35,956)$(4,999)(14)%
Interest and investment income13,458 14,590 (1,132)(8)%
Gain on asset acquisition and sale of business22,690 — 22,690 100 %
Loss on extinguishment of long-term debt(5,488)— (5,488)100 %
Other income (expense), net(1,598)(9,171)7,573 83 %
Total non-operating income (expense)$(11,893)$(30,537)$18,644 61 %
The change in non-operating income (expense) between periods was primarily driven by the recognition of an aggregate $22.7 million gain on asset acquisition and sale of business during the year ended December 31, 2019, of which $14.2 million relates to the R&I Acquisition in second quarter 2019 and $8.5 million relates to the gain on sale of our Hillcrest product business in third quarter 2019. These gains were partially offset by the recognition of a $5.5 million loss on extinguishment of debt recognized in connection with the settlement of a portion of our 2020 Notes in second quarter 2019.
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Additionally, during the year ended December 31, 2019, we recognized a net loss of $2.6 million resulting from the partial impairment of one of our strategic investments partially offset by a gain on sale of a separate strategic investment. During the year ended December 31, 2018, we recognized an aggregate $8.4 million loss resulting from the sale of our entire ownership interest in one of our strategic investments and the impairment of a separate strategic investment. These items are included in the "Other income (expense), net" caption in the table above. Higher interest expense relates to interest on the 2024 Notes and interest incurred on long-term debt resulting from the Technicolor Patent Acquisition.
Income Taxes
In 2019, based on the statutory federal tax rate net of discrete federal and state taxes, our effective tax rate was a provision of 42.4%. The effective tax rate for 2019 was unfavorably impacted by an $8.0 million provision associated with valuation allowances on the Company’s losses in jurisdictions for which the Company receives no benefit. As a result of the difference in timing between US GAAP revenue and tax revenue, the Company's estimate of current taxable income is zero. The Company was unable to benefit from favorable rates associated with FDII as a result of having zero taxable income.
This is compared to an effective tax rate benefit of 85.5% in 2018, based on the statutory federal tax rate net of discrete federal and state taxes. The effective tax rate for 2018 was impacted by an $18.0 million benefit associated with the FDII deduction provisions contained within the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, or TCJA, and a $14.7 million benefit from expected amended returns related to the Korea Competent Authority Proceeding settlement discussed above.
FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Such statements include certain information in “Part I, Item 1. Business” and “Part II, Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and other information regarding our current beliefs, plans and expectations, including, without limitation, the matters set forth below. Words such as “anticipate,” “estimate,” “expect,” “project,” “intend,” “plan,” “forecast,” “believe,” “could,” “would,” “should,” “if,” “may,” “might,” “future,” “target,” “goal,” “trend,” “seek to,” “will continue,” “predict,” “likely,” “in the event,” variations of any such words or similar expressions contained herein are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K include, without limitation, statements regarding:
(i) our objective to continue to be a leading designer and developer of technology solutions and innovation for the mobile, video and consumer electronics industries and to monetize those solutions and innovations through a combination of licensing, sales and other revenue opportunities;
(ii) our plans for executing on our business strategy, including our plans to develop and source innovative technologies related to wireless and video, establish and grow our patent-based revenue, pursue commercial opportunities for our advanced platforms and solutions, and maintain a collaborative relationship with key industry players and worldwide standards bodies;
(iii) our belief that our portfolio includes a number of patents and patent applications that are or may be essential or may become essential to cellular, other wireless and video standards, including 3G, 4G, 5G, HEVC and the IEEE 802 suite of standards, as well as patents and patent applications that we believe may become essential to standards that are under development;
(iv) our belief that a number of our CDMA and OFDM/OFDMA inventions are, may be or may become essential to the implementation of CDMA and OFDM/OFDMA-based systems in use today;
(v) our belief that companies making, importing, using or selling products compliant with the standards covered by our patent portfolio require a license under our patents and will require licenses under patents that may issue from our pending patent applications;
(vi) our belief that our ongoing research efforts and associated patenting activities enable us to sell patent assets that are not vital to our core licensing programs, as well as to execute patent swaps that can strengthen our overall portfolio;
(vii) our belief that our commercial initiatives are potential revenue opportunities;
(viii) the estimated growth of the IoT market, including the size of the connected device installed base and number of connected device shipments, over the next several years;
(ix) the types of licensing arrangements and various royalty structure models that we anticipate using under our future license agreements;
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(x) the possible outcome of audits of our license agreements when underreporting or underpayment is revealed;
(xi) our belief that our facilities are suitable and adequate for our present purposes and our needs in the near future;
(xii) our expectations and estimations regarding the income tax effects, and the impact on the Company, of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, or TCJA, and our belief that we currently expect a significant portion of our income to qualify as FDII and thus be subject to the 13.1% tax rate;
(xiii) our expectation that we will continue to pay a quarterly cash dividend on our common stock comparable to our quarterly $0.35 per share cash dividend in the future;
(xiv) our belief that intellectual property enforcement costs, including litigation costs, will likely continue to be a significant expense for us in the future;
(xv) our belief that we have the ability to obtain additional liquidity through debt and equity financings;
(xvi) our belief that our available sources of funds will be sufficient to finance our operations, capital requirements, debt obligations, existing stock repurchase program and dividend program for the next twelve months;
(xvii) our expectations regarding the potential effects of new accounting standards on our financial statements or results of operations;
(xviii) our expectation that the amortization of fixed-fee royalty payments will reduce our deferred revenue balance over the next twelve months;
(xix) our belief in our ability to continue to expand into the consumer electronics market, and the opportunities that market presents;
(xx) our projections of amounts to be owed to Technicolor under our revenue sharing arrangement;
(xxi) the expected timing, outcome and impact of our various litigation, arbitration and administrative matters; and
(xxii) our belief that there will be a level of concentration in worldwide shipments of 5G handsets similar to the current level of concentration in worldwide shipments of 3G and 4G handsets.
Although the forward-looking statements in this Form 10-K reflect the good faith judgment of our management, such statements can only be based on facts and factors currently known by us. Consequently, forward-looking statements concerning our business, results of operations and financial condition are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties. We caution readers that actual results and outcomes could differ materially from those expressed in or anticipated by such forward-looking statements due to a variety of factors, including, without limitation, the following:
(i) uncertainty and decline in U.S.-China relations and/or increased economic uncertainty in China;
(ii) unanticipated difficulties or delays related to the further development of our technologies;
(iii) the failure of the markets for our technologies to materialize to the extent or at the rate that we expect;
(iv) changes in our plans, strategy or initiatives;
(v) the challenges related to entering into new and renewed patent license agreements and unanticipated delays, difficulties or acceleration in the negotiation and execution of patent license agreements;
(vi) our ability to leverage our strategic relationships and secure new patent license and technology solutions agreements on acceptable terms;
(vii) the impact of current trends in the industry that could result in reductions in and/or caps on royalty rates under new patent license agreements;
(viii) changes in the market share and sales performance of our primary licensees, delays in product shipments of our licensees, delays in the timely receipt and final reviews of quarterly royalty reports from our licensees, delays in payments from our licensees and related matters;
(ix) the timing and/or outcome of our various litigation, arbitration, regulatory or administrative proceedings, including any awards or judgments relating to such proceedings, additional legal proceedings, changes in the schedules or costs associated with legal proceedings or adverse rulings in such legal proceedings;
(x) the determination of royalty rates, or other terms, under our patent license agreements through arbitration or other third-party adjudications, or the establishment by arbitrators or other third-party adjudicators of patent royalty rates at levels lower than our agreed or historical rates;
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(xi) the impact of potential patent legislation, USPTO rule changes and international patent rule changes on our patent prosecution and licensing strategies;
(xii) the impact of rulings in legal proceedings, potential legislation affecting the jurisdiction and authority of the USITC and potential changes to the IPR policies of worldwide standards bodies on our investments in research and development and our strategies for patent prosecution, licensing and enforcement;
(xiii) changes in our interpretations of, and assumptions and calculations with respect to the impact on the Company of, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, or TCJA, as well as further guidance that may be issued regarding the TCJA;
(xiv) the timing and/or outcome of any state or federal tax examinations or audits, changes in tax laws and the resulting impact on our tax assets and liabilities;
(xv) the effects of any dispositions, acquisitions or other strategic transactions by the Company;
(xvi) decreased liquidity in the capital markets; and
(xvii) unanticipated increases in our cash needs or decreases in available cash.
You should carefully consider these factors as well as the risks and uncertainties outlined in greater detail in Part I, Item 1A, in this Form 10-K before making any investment decision with respect to our common stock. These factors, individually or in the aggregate, may cause our actual results to differ materially from our expected and historical results. You should understand that it is not possible to predict or identify all such factors. In addition, you should not place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements contained herein, which are made only as of the date of this Form 10-K. We undertake no obligation to revise or update publicly any forward-looking statement for any reason, except as otherwise required by law.
Item 7A.     QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK.
Cash, cash equivalents, restricted cash and short-term investments
The primary objectives of our investment activities are to preserve principal and maintain liquidity while at the same time capturing a market rate of return. To achieve these objectives, we maintain our portfolio of cash, cash equivalents, restricted cash and short-term and long-term investments in a variety of securities, including government obligations, corporate bonds and commercial paper.
Interest Rate Risk — We invest our cash in a number of diversified high quality investment-grade fixed and floating rate securities with a fair value of $0.9 billion as of December 31, 2020. Our exposure to interest rate risks is not significant due to the short average maturity, quality and diversification of our holdings. We do not hold any derivative, derivative commodity instruments or other similar financial instruments in our investment portfolio. The risk associated with fluctuating interest rates is generally limited to our investment portfolio. We believe that a hypothetical 10% change in period-end interest rates would not have a significant impact on our results of operations or cash flows.
The following table provides information about our interest-bearing securities that are sensitive to changes in interest rates as of December 31, 2020. The table presents principal cash flows, weighted-average yield at cost and contractual maturity dates. Additionally, we have assumed that these securities are similar enough within the specified categories to aggregate these securities for presentation purposes.
Interest Rate Sensitivity
Principal Amount by Expected Maturity
Average Interest Rates
(in thousands)
20212022202320242025ThereafterTotal
Money market and demand accounts$397,522— — — — — $397,522
Short-term investments$517,437$15,877— — — — $533,314
Average Interest rate0.9 %2.0 %— %— %— %— %0.9 %
Cash and cash equivalents and available-for-sale securities are recorded at fair value.
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Bank Liquidity Risk — As of December 31, 2020, we had approximately $397.5 million in operating accounts that are held with domestic and international financial institutions. The majority of these balances are held with domestic financial institutions. While we monitor daily cash balances in our operating accounts and adjust the cash balances as appropriate, these cash balances could be lost or become inaccessible if the underlying financial institutions fail or if they are unable to meet the liquidity requirements of their depositors. Notwithstanding, we have not incurred any losses and have had full access to our operating accounts to date.
Foreign Currency Exchange Rate Risk — We are exposed to limited risk from fluctuations in currencies, which might change over time as our business practices evolve, that could impact our operating results, liquidity and financial condition. We operate and invest globally. Adverse movements in currency exchange rates might negatively affect our business due to a number of situations. Currently, our international licensing agreements are typically made in U.S. dollars and are generally not subject to foreign currency exchange rate risk. We do not engage in foreign exchange hedging transactions at this time.
Between 2014 and 2020, we paid approximately $134.3 million in foreign taxes to foreign governments that have tax treaties with the U.S., for which we have claimed foreign tax credits against our U.S. tax obligations, and for which the tax treaty procedures are still open. It is possible that as a result of tax treaty procedures, the U.S. government may reach an agreement with the related foreign governments that will result in a partial refund of foreign taxes paid with a related reduction in our foreign tax credits. Due to foreign currency fluctuations, any such agreement could result in foreign currency gain or loss.
Investment Risk — We are exposed to market risk as it relates to changes in the market value of our short-term and long-term investments in addition to the liquidity and creditworthiness of the underlying issuers of our investments. We hold a diversified investment portfolio, which includes, fixed and floating-rate, investment-grade marketable securities, mortgage and asset-backed securities and U.S. government and other securities. The instruments included in our portfolio meet high credit quality standards, as specified in our investment policy guidelines. This policy also limits our amount of credit exposure to any one issue, issuer and type of instrument. Given that the guidelines of our investment policy prohibit us from investing in anything but highly rated instruments, our investments are not subject to significant fluctuations in fair value due to the volatility of the credit markets and prevailing interest rates for such securities. Our marketable securities, consisting of government obligations, corporate bonds and commercial paper, are primarily classified as available-for-sale with a fair value of $533.3 million as of December 31, 2020.
Equity Risk — We are exposed to changes in the market-traded price of our common stock as it influences the calculation of earnings per share. In connection with the offering of the 2024 Notes, we entered into convertible note hedge transactions with option counterparties. We also sold warrants to the option counterparties. These transactions have been accounted for as an adjustment to our shareholders' equity. The convertible note hedge transactions are expected to reduce the potential equity dilution upon conversion of the 2024 Notes. The warrants along with any shares issuable upon conversion of the 2024 Notes will have a dilutive effect on our earnings per share to the extent that the average market price of our common stock for a given reporting period exceeds the applicable strike price or conversion price of the warrants or convertible 2024 Notes.
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Item 8.     FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA.

 PAGE NUMBER
CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS: 
SCHEDULES: 
All other schedules are omitted because they are either not required or applicable or equivalent information has been included in the financial statements and notes thereto.

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Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

To the Board of Directors and Shareholders of InterDigital, Inc.

Opinions on the Financial Statements and Internal Control over Financial Reporting

We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of InterDigital, Inc. and its subsidiaries (the “Company”) as of December 31, 2020 and 2019, and the related consolidated statements of income, comprehensive income, shareholders’ equity, and cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2020, including the related notes and financial statement schedule listed in the accompanying index (collectively referred to as the “consolidated financial statements”). We also have audited the Company's internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2020, based on criteria established in Internal Control - Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO).

In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of December 31, 2020 and 2019, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2020 in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. Also in our opinion, the Company maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2020, based on criteria established in Internal Control - Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the COSO.

Changes in Accounting Principles

As discussed in Note 2 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company changed the manner in which it accounts for leases in 2019 and the manner in which it accounts for revenue in 2018.

Basis for Opinions

The Company's management is responsible for these consolidated financial statements, for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting, and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting, included in Management’s Annual Report on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting appearing under Item 9A. Our responsibility is to express opinions on the Company’s consolidated financial statements and on the Company's internal control over financial reporting based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB) and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audits to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the consolidated financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud, and whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects.

Our audits of the consolidated financial statements included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the consolidated financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the consolidated financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the consolidated financial statements. Our audit of internal control over financial reporting included obtaining an understanding of internal control over financial reporting, assessing the risk that a material weakness exists, and testing and evaluating the design and operating effectiveness of internal control based on the assessed risk. Our audits also included performing such other procedures as we considered necessary in the circumstances. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinions.

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Definition and Limitations of Internal Control over Financial Reporting

A company’s internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. A company’s internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that (i) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company; (ii) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the company; and (iii) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the company’s assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.

Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.

Critical Audit Matters

The critical audit matters communicated below are matters arising from the current period audit of the consolidated financial statements that were communicated or required to be communicated to the audit committee and that (i) relate to accounts or disclosures that are material to the consolidated financial statements and (ii) involved our especially challenging, subjective, or complex judgments. The communication of critical audit matters does not alter in any way our opinion on the consolidated financial statements, taken as a whole, and we are not, by communicating the critical audit matters below, providing separate opinions on the critical audit matters or on the accounts or disclosures to which they relate.

Revenue Recognition Determination of the Value of Revenue from Non-Financial Sources and of Standalone Selling Prices of Identified Performance Obligations in Dynamic Fixed-Fee License Agreements

As described in Notes 2 and 3 to the consolidated financial statements, dynamic fixed-fee license agreements include fixed, non-refundable royalty payments that fulfill the licensee’s obligations to the Company under a patent license agreement for a specified time period or for the term of the agreement. Additionally, certain patent license agreements contain revenue from non-financial sources in the form of patents received from the customer. Total fixed-fee royalty revenue and non-current patent royalties were $298.5 million and $21.6 million, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2020, of which a significant portion relates to dynamic fixed-fee agreements. As disclosed by management, the process for determining the value of the standalone selling prices of identified performance obligations in dynamic fixed-fee license agreements requires the exercise of significant judgment when evaluating the valuation methods and assumptions, including the assumed royalty rates, projected sales volumes, discount rate, identification of comparable market transactions which are not directly observable and other relevant factors. Management’s process for determining the value of revenue from non-financial sources requires estimating the fair value of patents received using one of, or a combination of, an analysis of comparable market transactions (the market approach), a discounted cash flow analysis (the income approach), and/or by quantifying the amount of money required to replace the future service capability of the assets (the cost approach). The development of a number of these inputs and assumptions requires a significant amount of management judgment and is based upon a number of factors, including identification of comparable market transactions, assumed royalty rates, projected sales volumes, economic lives of the patents and other relevant factors.

The principal considerations for our determination that performing procedures relating to the determination of the value of revenue from non-financial sources and of standalone selling prices of identified performance obligations in dynamic fixed-fee license agreements is a critical audit matter are (i) the significant judgment by management when determining the value of revenue from non-financial sources and of standalone selling prices; (ii) a high degree of auditor judgment, subjectivity and effort in performing procedures and evaluating audit evidence obtained relating to management’s significant assumptions related to (a) assumed royalty rates, projected sales volumes and identification of comparable market transactions used to estimate the value of revenue from standalone selling prices and (b) identification of comparable market transactions used to estimate the value of revenue from non-financial sources; and (iii) the audit effort involved the use of professionals with specialized skill and knowledge.

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Addressing the matter involved performing procedures and evaluating audit evidence in connection with forming our overall opinion on the consolidated financial statements. These procedures included testing the effectiveness of controls relating to the revenue recognition process, including controls over the determination of the value of revenue from non-financial sources and of standalone selling prices of identified performance obligations in dynamic fixed-fee license agreements. These procedures also included, among others (i) reading certain new dynamic fixed-fee license agreements entered into during the year; (ii) testing management’s process for determining the value of revenue from non-financial sources and of standalone selling prices of identified performance obligations in dynamic fixed-fee license agreements; (iii) evaluating the appropriateness of the valuation methods used; (iv) evaluating the reasonableness of management’s significant assumptions used in determining the value of revenue from non-financial sources and developing the standalone selling prices related to assumed royalty rates, projected sales volumes and identification of comparable market transactions; and (v) testing the completeness and accuracy of data used by management in the valuation methods. Evaluating the reasonableness of management’s significant assumptions related to assumed royalty rates and identification of comparable market transactions involved considering prospective third-party market data and previous license agreements entered into by the Company. Evaluating the reasonableness of management’s significant assumptions related to projected sales volumes involved considering consistency with historical sales data. Professionals with specialized skill and knowledge were used to assist in the evaluation of the valuation methods and the significant assumption related to the identification of comparable market transactions used to estimate the value of revenue from non-financial sources.

Recognition of Benefit For Uncertain Tax Positions

As described in Notes 2 and 14 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company has recorded $3.8 million of unrecognized tax benefits as of December 31, 2020. In addition, during the year ended December 31, 2020, a net discrete benefit of $20.9 million was recorded that primarily relates to the expected amendment of a prior year tax return to utilize a tax asset generated in the current year, as well as the reversal of a tax reserve. The calculation of tax liabilities involves significant judgment in estimating the impact of uncertainties in the application of complex tax laws. The financial statement recognition of the benefit for an uncertain tax position is dependent upon the benefit being more likely than not to be sustainable upon audit by the applicable tax authority. If this threshold is met, the tax benefit is then measured and recognized at the largest amount that is greater than 50 percent likely of being realized upon ultimate settlement. In the event that the IRS or another taxing jurisdiction levies an assessment in the future, it is possible the assessment could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s consolidated financial condition or results of operations.

The principal considerations for our determination that performing procedures relating to the recognition of benefit for uncertain tax positions is a critical audit matter are (i) the significant judgment by management in estimating the impact of uncertainties in the application of complex tax laws, including determining whether it is more likely than not that the tax position will be sustained upon audit by the applicable tax authority, based on the technical merits of the position; (ii) a high degree of auditor judgment, subjectivity and effort in performing procedures and evaluating audit evidence obtained related to the recognition of benefit for uncertain tax positions; and (iii) the audit effort involved the use of professionals with specialized skill and knowledge.

Addressing the matter involved performing procedures and evaluating audit evidence in connection with forming our overall opinion on the consolidated financial statements. These procedures included testing the effectiveness of controls relating to the recognition of benefit for uncertain tax positions, including controls addressing measurement of the unrecognized tax benefits. These procedures also included, among others, evaluating the significant judgment used by management in applying the more likely than not recognition criteria and in measuring the unrecognized tax benefits. Professionals with specialized skill and knowledge were used to assist in evaluating the technical merits of positions taken based upon application of the tax law and new information, and recognition of benefit for uncertain tax positions.


/s/ PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
February 18, 2021

We have served as the Company’s auditor since 2002.

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INTERDIGITAL, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(in thousands, except per share data)
DECEMBER 31,
2020
DECEMBER 31,
2019
ASSETS  
CURRENT ASSETS:  
Cash and cash equivalents$473,474 $745,491 
Short-term investments453,173 179,204 
Accounts receivable, less allowances of $0 and $537
16,008 28,272 
Prepaid and other current assets84,224 63,365 
Total current assets1,026,879 1,016,332 
PROPERTY AND EQUIPMENT, NET16,630 10,217 
PATENTS, NET418,343 436,339 
DEFERRED TAX ASSETS80,380 73,168 
OTHER NON-CURRENT ASSETS74,043 76,026 
 589,396 595,750 
TOTAL ASSETS$1,616,275 $1,612,082 
LIABILITIES AND SHAREHOLDERS’ EQUITY 
CURRENT LIABILITIES:  
Current portion of long-term debt$ $94,170 
Accounts payable10,979 13,393 
Accrued compensation and related expenses32,413 29,162 
Deferred revenue219,935 146,654 
Taxes payable 360 51 
Dividend payable10,786 10,746 
Other accrued expenses21,289 11,382 
Total current liabilities295,762 305,558 
LONG-TERM DEBT367,992 350,588 
LONG-TERM DEFERRED REVENUE108,069 123,653