Finally, the uncertain global economic climate may harm our ability to attract and retain customers if customers slow spending, or delay decision-making on our offerings, or if customers begin to have difficulty paying us and we experience increased churn in our customer base. Any of these factors may hinder the development, growth and retention of a balanced customer base and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We may be subject to securities class action and other litigation, which may harm our business and results of operations.
We may be subject to securities class action or other litigation. For example, securities class action litigation has often been brought against a company following periods of volatility in the market price of its securities. Litigation can be lengthy, expensive, and divert management's attention and resources. Results cannot be predicted with certainty and an adverse outcome in litigation could result in monetary damages or injunctive relief. Further, any payments made in settlement may directly reduce our revenue under U.S. GAAP and could negatively impact our operating results for the period. For all of these reasons, litigation could seriously harm our business, results of operations, financial condition or cash flows.
We may not be able to protect our intellectual property rights.
We cannot make assurances that the steps taken by us to protect our intellectual property rights will be adequate to deter misappropriation of proprietary information or that we will be able to detect unauthorized use and take appropriate steps to enforce our intellectual property rights. We also are subject to the risk of litigation alleging infringement of third-party intellectual property rights. Any such claims could require us to spend significant sums in litigation, pay damages, develop non-infringing intellectual property or acquire licenses to the intellectual property that is the subject of the alleged infringement.
Government regulation may adversely affect our business.
Various laws and governmental regulations, both in the U.S. and abroad, governing internet-related services, related communications services and information technologies remain largely unsettled, even in areas where there has been some legislative action. For example, the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") recently overturned network neutrality rules, which may result in material changes in the regulations and contribution regime affecting us and our customers. Furthermore, the U.S. Congress and state legislatures are reviewing and considering changes to the new FCC rules making the future of network neutrality and its impact on Equinix uncertain. There may also be forthcoming regulation in the U.S. in the areas of cybersecurity, data privacy and data security, any of which could impact Equinix and our customers. Similarly, data privacy regulations outside of the U.S. continue to evolve and must be addressed by Equinix as a global company.
We remain focused on whether and how existing and changing laws, such as those governing intellectual property, privacy, libel, telecommunications services, data flows/data localization, carbon emissions impact, and taxation apply to the internet and to related offerings such as ours; and substantial resources may be required to comply with regulations or bring any non-compliant business practices into compliance with such regulations. In addition, the continuing development of the market for online commerce and the displacement of traditional telephony service by the internet and related communications services may prompt an increased call for more stringent consumer protection laws or other regulation both in the U.S. and abroad that may impose additional burdens on companies conducting business online and their service providers.
The adoption, or modification of laws or regulations relating to the internet and our business, or interpretations of existing laws, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Industry consolidation may have a negative impact on our business model.
If customers combine businesses, they may require less colocation space, which could lead to churn in our customer base. Regional competitors may also consolidate to become a global competitor. Consolidation of our customers and/or our competitors may present a risk to our business model and have a negative impact on our revenues.
We have various mechanisms in place that may discourage takeover attempts.
Certain provisions of our certificate of incorporation and bylaws may discourage, delay or prevent a third party from acquiring control of us in a merger, acquisition or similar transaction that a stockholder may consider favorable. Such provisions include:
ownership limitations and transfer restrictions relating to our stock that are intended to facilitate our compliance with certain REIT rules relating to share ownership;
authorization for the issuance of "blank check" preferred stock;
the prohibition of cumulative voting in the election of directors;
limits on the persons who may call special meetings of stockholders;
limits on stockholder action by written consent; and