• Filing Date: 2021-03-30
  • Form Type: 10-K
  • Description: Annual report
Commitments and Contingencies
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2020
Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]  
Commitments and Contingencies

Legal contingencies


Federal Trade Commission Consent Order. As previously disclosed, on December 20, 2016 the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued a confidential Civil Investigative Demand, or CID, requiring us to produce certain documents and materials and to answer certain interrogatories relating to PC Healthcheck, an obsolete software program that we developed on behalf of a third party for their use with their customers. The investigation relates to us providing software like PC Healthcheck to third parties for their use prior to December 31, 2016, when we were under management of the previous board and executive team. Since issuing the CID, the FTC has sought additional written and testimonial evidence. We have cooperated fully with the FTC’s investigation and provided all requested information. In addition, we have not used PC Healthcheck nor provided it to any customers since December 2016.


On March 9, 2018, the FTC notified us that it was willing to engage in settlement discussions. On November 6, 2018, Support.com and the FTC entered into a proposed Stipulation to Entry of Order for Permanent Injunction and Monetary Judgment (the “Consent Order”). The Consent Order was approved by the Commission on March 26, 2019 and entered by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on March 29, 2019. Entry of the Consent Order by the Court resolved the FTC’s multi-year investigation of Support.com.


Pursuant to the Consent Order, under which we neither admitted nor denied the FTC’s allegations (except as to the Court having jurisdiction over the matter), the FTC agreed to accept a payment of $10 million in settlement of the matter, subject to the factual accuracy of the information we provided as part of our financial representations. The $10 million payment was made on April 1, 2019 and was recognized in operating expenses within our consolidated statements of operations for the year ended December 31, 2018.


Additionally, pursuant to the Consent Order, we agreed to implement certain new procedures and enhance certain existing procedures. For example, the Consent Order necessitates that we cooperate with representatives of the Commission on associated investigations if needed; imposes requirements on Support.com regarding obtaining acknowledgements of the Consent Order and compliance certification, including record creation and maintenance; and prohibits us from making misrepresentations and misleading claims or providing the means for others to make such claims regarding, among other things, detection of security or performance issues on consumer’s Electronic Devices. Electronic Devices include, but are not limited to, cell phones, tablets and computers. We continue to monitor the impact of the Consent Order regularly. If we are unable to comply with the Consent Order, then this could result in a material and adverse impact to the results of operations and financial condition.


Verizon Media. As previously disclosed, on March 22, 2010, the Company and AOL Fulfillment Services, who now does business as Verizon Media (“Verizon Media”), entered into a Fulfillment Services Promotion and Marketing Agreement (“Agreement”). The Agreement related to the development and sale of certain products and services. The Company sold software products to Verizon Media pursuant to the terms of the Agreement under two programs – SUPERAntiSpyware and Computer Check-Up. Verizon Media offered these software products to its end-customers. On May 24, 2019, the Company received a letter from Verizon Media providing notice that it wished to terminate the Agreement and work with the Company to wind-down all remaining subscriptions for both programs. The Company has wound-down all services under the Computer Check-Up program and the SUPERAntiSpyware program. In connection with the termination of the Computer Check-Up program, Verizon Media requested that the Company fund rebates to its end-customers who elect to accept a refund offer from Verizon Media. Although the Company made no agreement to fund such a program, Verizon Media commenced its rebate program.


On November 15, 2019, the Company received a letter from Verizon Media informing the Company that, to date, Verizon Media has issued rebates totaling $2.6 million and requesting reimbursement of this amount from the Company (the “Dispute”). Subsequently, the parties entered into negotiations toward a settlement of any potential claims, which culminated in the execution of a Confidential Settlement and Release Agreement dated September 29, 2020, pursuant to which the Company issued a one-time payment to Verizon Media in exchange for a full and complete release from any claims related to or arising out of the Dispute. The Company admitted no liability and incurred no financial impact from the settlement, as the payment was funded by the Company’s insurance carrier.


Other Matters


We have received and may in the future receive additional requests for information, including subpoenas, from other governmental agencies relating to the subject matter of the Consent Order and the Civil Investigative Demands described above. We intend to cooperate with these information requests and is not aware of any other legal proceedings against us by governmental authorities at this time.


We are also subject to other routine legal proceedings, as well as demands, claims and threatened litigation, that arise in the normal course of business, potentially including assertions that we may be infringing patents or other intellectual property rights of others. We currently do not believe that the ultimate amount of liability, if any, for any pending claims of any type (alone or combined) will materially affect our financial position, results of operations or cash flows. The ultimate outcome of any litigation is uncertain; however, any unfavorable outcomes could have a material negative impact on our financial condition and operating results. Regardless of outcome, litigation can have an adverse impact on us because of defense costs, negative publicity, diversion of management resources and other factors.