It has emerged that US vendor Motorola, which earlier this week agreed the sale of its networks unit to rival Nokia Siemens Networks, has sued Chinese firm Huawei over the alleged theft of trade secrets. The legal action follows a suit from 2008 in which Motorola sued five former employees for sharing information with IP networking firm Lemko, headquartered like Motorola in Schaumberg, Illinois. Lemko has a reseller agreement with Huawei.
In a suit filed on July 16th, Motorola is now alleging that one of its engineers shared confidential information about various elements of its technology directly with Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, through Lemko.
Huawei, which was seen as a possible buyer of Motorola’s ailing infrastructure business prior to this week’s announcement of the deal with NSN, described the lawsuit as “baseless”. In an emailed statement, Huawei said its only relationship with Lemko is as a reseller, an arrangement it has previously had with Motorola.
“Huawei, which in the past has had an agreement with Motorola allowing that company to resell Huawei’s wireless equipment, has only recently learned of the amended Motorola complaint,” the Chiense firm said. “The complaint is groundless and utterly without merit.”
The statement continued: “Huawei will vigorously defend itself against baseless allegations. Moreover, as an active and significant player in global standards-setting bodies, Huawei has great respect for the rights of intellectual property holders, and will with equal vigour protect its own hard-earned intellectual property rights.”
Despite the sale of its infrastructure unit to Nokia Siemens, Motorola has said that it will retain “substantially all the patents related to its wireless network infrastructure business and other selected assets.”