Huawei hits out at Verizon with Texas patent lawsuit

Law court crime punishment

Huawei has announced it has filed a patent lawsuit against Verizon with the District Courts of both East and Western Texas districts, covering several applications in its fixed line business unit.

Although Huawei is not a supplier to Verizon, the Chinese firm is claiming several products in the wireless business make use of patented technologies which are protected by 12 Huawei patents. Verizon is yet to make comment on the lawsuit, though Huawei claims there have been various meetings between the two parties to discuss this dispute over the last 12 months.

“For years now we have successfully negotiated patent license agreements with many companies,” said Huawei’s chief legal officer Song Liuping. “Unfortunately, when no agreement can be reached, we have no choice but to seek a legal remedy.

“This is the common practice in the industry. Huawei is simply asking that Verizon respect Huawei’s investment in research and development by either paying for the use of our patents or refraining from using them in its products and services.”

This lawsuit is somewhat of a no-lose situation for Huawei. If it wins the lawsuit, it could be the focal point of a PR campaign to fight back against Chinese-aggression, but a loss could also be spun due to the anti-China rhetoric.

While details are thin on the ground, this is not the first time this saga has emerged. Last year, the Wall Street Journal reported Huawei had written to Verizon about this very matter, demanding payments which could have exceeded $1 billion. Song has not confirmed how much Huawei is asking for, though the lawyer did suggest the two companies had met several times to discuss the matter.

And while this is an interesting development, the Huawei legal team are of course no strangers to the US legal system.

On the offensive, Huawei has filed lawsuits against the White House claiming the ban on working with US suppliers is unconstitutional, while it has also questioned the legality of the FCC’s demands on rural suppliers. The FCC has previously stated any telco with Huawei equipment in the network cannot access federal subsidies for rural connectivity.

Sitting on the other side of the aisle, a trial date has been set in March 2020 to decide whether Huawei had stolen trade secrets from T-Mobile US concerning a phone testing robot called Tappy. It was also accused of stealing patents from Portuguese inventor Rui Pedro Oliveira.

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