ZTE accuses Huawei of patent trolling

ZTE has accused rival Chinese vendor Huawei of patent trolling, suggesting that the latter is using litigation as part of tactical competition in the European marketplace. In a statement issued late last week, ZTE said that Huawei’s legal suit regarding the use of trademarks in Europe was spurious.

The manufacturer claims that it ceased using the trademark in question a year before Huawei was awarded any rights to it, and therefore “the injunction has no impact on ZTE’s business.”

This current spat revolves around Huawei’s registering of a modified Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) logo, originially issued by the EU. Huawei filed claims against ZTE in France, Germany and Hungary for what it says was patent and trademark infringement.

According to ZTE, it ceased using the trademark in question on the 14th July 2009; Huawei applied for the trademark in November that year, with the EU only granting approval for it in May last year. In what amounts to a fairly up-front statement, even in the current litigious market, ZTE said that “Obviously, Huawei intended to use the trademark…to sue ZTE,” adding that this was “beyond the bounds of normal technology, marketing and legal litigation processes.” While suggesting that its rival was fighting dirty, ZTE stated that its “determination to explore the European market will not be impeded by this or any such action.”

Huawei, for its part, is claiming victory, despite the fact that the current injunction against ZTE is a preliminary one. ZTE is calling on the EU to revoke the logo, claiming that Huawei never had the right to register it in the first place. “There is a clear lack of legitimacy,” it says. In the event that ZTE’s claims are upheld, Huawei will have to foot the bill for the legal costs.

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