They might not be that well known in the West, but Huawei are a Chinese telecommunications behemoth. They are planning to sue Motorola to stop their former partner from transferring trade secrets to a rival company.
This is one of the first big cases in which a Chinese company has sued a Western organisation for breach of intellectual property agreements.
Nicholas Howson, a professor in law at the University of Michigan told the Washington Post “The case indicates that Chinese firms are climbing up the ladder of production, Fifteen years ago we would have said a case like this was bogus. Now, we really don’t know.”
Last year Motorola announced that they were selling their main mobile telecommunications unit to Nokia Siemens Networks. Huawei filed a complaint on Monday in federal court in Chicago alleging that Motorola have been supplied with $878 million of equipment and technology for wireless networks, including routers and switching stations which they have been developing since 2000.
The case states that this technology was about to be handed over to Nokia Siemens who have announced a buy out of their networking business for $1.2 billion. Huawei have asked that the transfer be stopped as it would result in ‘irreparable harm’ to their business as Nokia and Huawei compete across the continents.
Motorola have said that the case is ‘without merit’ according to a spokesperson. The deal is still awaiting approval from China’s antitrust authorities.
Bill Plummer, Huawei’s vice president for government relations said “We’re now number two on the planet, but with stature comes the need to assure that your lifeblood – your innovation – isn’t allowed to bleed out the door. This is new territory, but this is territory that is not unusual to a global leader.”
KitGuru says: As more technologies are developed in the Far East we will see this happening more often.