Thursday, 17 January 2019 10:46

Huawei may face case over alleged theft of trade secrets

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Huawei may face case over alleged theft of trade secrets Pixabay

Chinese telecommunications equipment provider Huawei Technologies could face an indictment over alleged theft of trade secrets from its American business partners, including smartphone-testing technology used by T-Mobile in robotic devices.

The Wall Street Journal  reported that a criminal investigation, being pursued by US federal authorities, had grown out of civil lawsuits, in one of which a jury found the company liable for using the robotic technology from T-Mobile.

Allegations in the 2014 lawsuit were levelled after T-Mobile hired Huawei to supply smartphones. The US provider had developed a robot named Tappy to carry out QA on the phones that it sold.

The T-Mobile lawsuit claimed that Huawei employees posed many detailed queries about the robot and kept asking for specifics of the proprietary technology.

The suit also claimed that Huawei employees tried to obtain photographs of the robot and gain possession of the fingerlike tip of the robot.

Huawei countered by making a filing that said no trade secrets were stolen because the robot was not a secret, with videos of it available on YouTube and the design and specifications published in a number of patents.

The case ended in a jury trial in 2017 and T-Mobile was awarded US$4.8 million with Huawei having been found to breach its contract.

The report made no mention of any other cases which had led to the federal investigation.

iTWire has contacted Huawei for comment.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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