I. COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES
|3 Months Ended|
Mar. 31, 2021
|Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]|
|COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES||
NOTE I – COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES
Office Leases Obligations
In October 2013, the Company entered into a lease agreement for 6,362 square feet of commercial office space in Waukesha, Wisconsin for its corporate headquarters. The Waukesha lease would have expired in April 2021, but was subsequently amended and extended through April 2026. On April 7, 2017 the Company executed an amendment to its’ existing lease in Waukesha, Wisconsin to expand another 3,982 square feet, bringing the total leased space to 10,344 square feet. In addition, the lease term was extended from May 1, 2021 to April 30, 2026. The commencement date for this amendment was July 15, 2017.
In January 2016, the Company entered into a lease agreement for 2,237 square feet of commercial office space in Germantown, Maryland for its Maryland employees. The Germantown lease, as amended, was set to expire at the end of January 2018. In November 2017, the Company entered into a second amendment to the lease agreement extending the lease through the end of January 2019. In November 2018, the Company entered into a third amendment to the lease agreement extending the lease through the end of January 2022.
In May 2017, the Company entered into a lease agreement for 5,838 square feet of floor space in Waukesha, Wisconsin for its inventory warehousing operations. The Waukesha lease expires in May 2024.
The Company determines if an arrangement is a lease at inception. This determination generally depends on whether the arrangement conveys to the Company the right to control the use of an explicitly or implicitly identified fixed asset for a period of time in exchange for consideration. Control of an underlying asset is conveyed to the Company if the Company obtains the rights to direct the use of and to obtain substantially all of the economic benefits from using the underlying asset. The Company does not separate non-lease components from lease components to which they relate and accounts for the combined lease and non-lease components as a single lease component.
Operating leases are included in our Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheet as right-of-use assets, operating lease liabilities – current and operating lease liabilities – long-term. We do not recognize a right-of-use asset and lease liability for leases with a term of 12 months or less. Our current operating leases are for facilities. Our leases may contain renewal options; however, we do not recognize right-of-use assets or lease liabilities for renewal periods unless it is determined that we are reasonably certain of renewing the lease at inception or when a triggering event occurs. Some of our lease agreements may contain rent escalation clauses, rent holidays, capital improvement funding, or other lease concessions.
In determining our right-of-use assets and lease liabilities, we apply a discount rate to the minimum lease payments within each lease agreement. ASC 842 requires us to use the rate of interest that a lessee would have to pay to borrow on a collateralized basis over a similar term, an amount equal to the lease payments in a similar economic environment. When we cannot readily determine the discount rate implicit in the lease agreement, we utilize our current borrowing rate on our outstanding line of credit. The Company’s line of credit utilizes market rates to assess an interest rate. Refer to Note G for further discussion.
We recognize our minimum rental expense on a straight-line basis based on the fixed components of a lease arrangement. Payments are set on a pre-determined schedule within each lease agreement. We amortize this expense over the term of the lease beginning with the date of the standard adoption for current leases and beginning with the date of initial possession, which is the date we enter the leased space and begin to make improvements in the preparation for its intended use, for future leases. Variable lease components represent amounts that are not fixed in nature and are not tied to an index or rate and are recognized as incurred. Variable lease components consist primarily of the Company's proportionate share of common area maintenance, utilities, taxes and insurance and are presented as operating expenses in the Company’s statements of operations in the same line item as expense arising from fixed lease payments.
We lease certain property under non-cancelable operating leases, primarily facilities. The impact of the adoption of ASC 842 at January 1, 2019 created a right-of-use asset of $1,042,004, lease liability of $1,095,761 and unwound the $71,877 balance of the deferred lease liability account.
The components of lease expense for the three months ended March 31, were as follows:
Other information related to leases as of March 31, was as follows:
Future annual minimum operating lease payments as of March 31, 2021 were as follows:
Rental expenses charged to operations for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020 was $87,524 and $97,511, respectively.
The Company is subject to legal proceedings and claims which arise in the ordinary course of its business. Although occasional adverse decisions or settlements may occur, other than the Sipco Lawsuit discussed below and which has been terminated, the Company believes that the final disposition of such matters should not have a material adverse effect on its financial position, results of operations or liquidity.
Sipco Litigation and License Agreement
On June 30, 2020, Sipco, LLC (“Sipco”) filed a lawsuit against the Company in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin (Case No. 20-CV-00981) (the “Sipco Lawsuit”) alleging infringement on multiple essential wireless mesh (“EWM”) patents held by the Sipco. The EWM patent portfolio covers technologies used in multi-hop wireless networks utilizing wireless protocols such as, but not limited to, Zigbee. The portfolio also covers applications including, but not limited to, home and building automation and industrial controls. The complaint contended that the Company sold, and was continuing to sell, various automated networked products designed to manage energy, lighting and temperature and those products employ wireless mesh network communication utilizing Zigbee enabled technology. The complaint alleged patent infringement and sought damages, costs, expenses, pre-judgment and post-judgment interest and post-judgment royalties. The complaint also alleged that the infringement was willful and that this is an “exceptional case” and requested treble damages and attorneys’ fees.
On November 30, 2020, the Company entered into a Wireless Network Patent License Agreement (the “License Agreement”) with SIPCO, LLC (“Sipco”) and IPCO, LLC dba IntusIQ (collectively, the “Licensors”) in order to settle the Sipco Lawsuit, without the expense of costly litigation. Pursuant to the terms of the License Agreement, on November 30, 2020, Sipco and the Company filed a Stipulation of Dismissal in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin to stipulate to the dismissal of the Sipco Lawsuit in its entirety, with prejudice.
Under the terms of the License Agreement, the Company is required to pay the Licensors royalties on (a) all Licensed Products (as defined in the License Agreement) sold by Telkonet or its affiliates from July 1, 2020 to December 31, 2024 and (b) all Licensed Products in Telkonet or its affiliates’ possession, but not sold, as of December 31, 2024. Specifically, the Company is required to pay a royalty fee, calculated quarterly, equal to 3.50% of applicable sales for the period beginning on July 1, 2020 and continuing until December 31, 2021 (the “First Period”). There was also an upfront payment of $40,000 that was paid in the fourth quarter of 2020. Based on the Company and its affiliates’ applicable sales in the three months ended September 30, 2020, the three months ended December 31, 2020, and the three months ended March 31, 2021, the royalty fees were approximately $59,000 for the third quarter of 2020, approximately $28,000 for the fourth quarter of 2020, and approximately $31,000 for the first quarter of 2021. The royalty fees for the remaining quarters in the First Period will be dependent on the Company and its affiliates’ sales of applicable products. Beginning on January 1, 2022 and continuing until June 30, 2023, the Company is required to pay a quarterly royalty fee equal to 3.75% of applicable sales or $35,000, whichever is greater Beginning on July 1, 2023 and continuing until December 31, 2024, the Company is required to pay a royalty fee, calculated quarterly, equal to 4% of applicable sales or $40,000, whichever is greater. Finally, the Company is required to pay a closing payment of $50,000 no later than January 31, 2025. Upon termination of the License Agreement, Telkonet and its affiliates have six months to sell off any unsold inventory of Licensed Products as of date of termination, paying the appropriate royalty on a quarterly basis as the Licensed Products are sold, and then pay a final royalty on any such inventory of Licensed Products still unsold after six months.
The minimum payments required under the License Agreement have been accrued for on the Company’s Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheet in accordance with GAAP, which specifies that when a liability is probable and the amount can be reasonably estimated, said liability should be recorded in the current reporting period. Per the License Agreement, the contractual minimum payments begin on January 1, 2022 and continue until December 31, 2024, thus satisfying both criteria of probable and reasonably estimable. Accordingly, a long-term liability was recorded representing the sum of those contractual minimums. As of March 31, 2021, the Company had a current liability of approximately $66,000 and a non-current liability of $465,000 included in accrued royalties – long-term recorded on its Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheet.
All quarterly payments are due within thirty days of the end of the relevant three-month period (with the exception of the payment for the quarter ended September 30, 2020, which was due by December 31, 2020). In the event (a) the Company fails to make the payments and provide the statements required under the License Agreement and such breach is not cured within thirty days of written notice from the Licensors and (b) the Licensors elect not to terminate the License Agreement, the Licensors are entitled to an immediate and accelerated payment of any remaining payments due under the License Agreement. In addition to the payment terms described above, the License Agreement contains representations and warranties and other provisions customary to agreements of this nature.
Unless provided with a resale or tax exemption certificate, the Company assesses and collects sales tax on sales transactions and records the amount as a liability. It is recognized as a liability until remitted to the applicable state. Total revenues do not include sales tax as the Company is considered a pass through conduit for collecting and remitting sales taxes.
The following table sets forth the change in the sales tax accrual as of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020:
The entire disclosure for commitments and contingencies.
Reference 1: http://fasb.org/us-gaap/role/ref/legacyRef