Friday, 19 October 2018 08:54

US start-up sues Huawei over alleged theft of SSD technology

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US start-up sues Huawei over alleged theft of SSD technology Pixabay

A California-based start-up named CNEX Labs has sued Chinese telecommunications equipment firm Huawei Technologies, alleging that the latter has engaged in a plan over many years to steal its technology.

CNEX Labs claims Huawei and its Futurewei unit have stolen technology relating to solid state drives, in what is a counter-suit to one filed by Huawei last year, The Wall Street Journal reported.

That suit accused CNEX and its co-founder Yiren Huang of stealing its (Huawei's) technology and sought detailed information about the technology used by CNEX. The charges in both lawsuits appear to be mirror images of each other.

The technology in question allows data centres to manage information storage. This has led to Dell and Microsoft investing in CNEX.

The case filed this week alleges that Huang, who once worked for Futurewei, made a bid to sell some IP to the firm but was turned down. It says that Futurewei tried later to get him to sign it away through an employment agreement but he refused.

Huang, who had worked for Cisco for nearly a dozen years, then left Futurewei and set up CNEX. The suit claims Huawei then started monitoring CNEX and tried to improperly gain access to its technology.

When Huawei sued CNEX, it alleged that he had stolen its technology and also recruited 14 of its employees to work for him along with their technology. CNEX admitted it had hired the 14 workers, but denied any plan to steal technology.

CNEX claims Huawei's case is "premised on bogus claims of trade secret misappropriation and false claims of ownership of CNEX’s proprietary technology” and "represents the latest in a long line of underhanded tactics waged by plaintiffs in their ongoing effort for Chinese technological dominance".

iTWire understands that Huawei has strongly denied the charges in the lawsuit brought by CNEX and Huang.

Earlier in October, Huawei asked the court in a filing to make CNEX turn over technical documents including "detailed engineering specifications, testing plans, source code design documents, source code flow charts, hardware design documents and schematics, hardware and software bug status reports, engineering personnel responsibility designations, client product delivery details, and production schedules".

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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