Friday, 07 February 2020 03:32

Huawei takes Verizon to court over patent infringement dispute Featured

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Chinese telcom giant Huawei Technologies is suing US telco Verizon for patent infringement after previously failing to get an agreement through negotiations on license terms over a “significant period of time".

Huawei announced on Thursday it had filed patent infringement lawsuits against Verizon in the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Texas, seeking compensation for Verizon's use of patented technology that is protected by 12 of Huawei's US patents.

“Verizon's products and services have benefited from patented technology that Huawei developed over many years of research and development," said Dr. Song Liuping, Huawei's Chief Legal Officer.

“As a leading communications equipment and smart device provider, Huawei re-invests 10% to 15% of its revenue in R&D each year. The company has spent more than $70 billion US dollars on R&D in the past decade, which has resulted in more than 80,000 patents worldwide – including over 10,000 patents in the United States alone.

“These innovations are not just the cornerstone of Huawei's own success; they are also widely used by companies around the world, delivering value both in the United States and elsewhere.”

Huawei said in a statement issued on Thursday that before filing the lawsuits in Texas, it had negotiated with Verizon for a significant period of time, during which the company provided a detailed list of patents and factual evidence of Verizon’s use of Huawei patents.

Huawei said the two parties were unable to reach an agreement on license terms.

"We invest heavily in R&D because we want to provide our customers with the best possible telecommunications solutions," continued Dr. Song. "We share these innovations with the broader industry through license agreements.”

"For years now we have successfully negotiated patent license agreements with many companies. 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."

Dr Song said Huawei respects and protects intellectual property rights, advocating the legitimate sharing of patented technologies through cross-license or paid license agreements.

Huawei says that for more than two decades, it has engaged in extensive cross-license negotiations with major patent holders in the telecommunications industry, signing more than 100 license agreements with major ICT vendors in the United States, Europe, Japan, and South Korea.

“Since 2015, Huawei has received more than US$1.4 billion dollars in patent license fees. To date, it has also paid over US$6 billion dollars for the legitimate use of patented technologies developed by industry peers. 80% of these license fees have gone to companies in the United States,” the statement noted.

“Innovation and protection of intellectual property are the cornerstone of Huawei's success. In 2018, Huawei's R&D expenditure reached US$15 billion dollars, close to 15% of the company's annual revenue. Huawei was ranked fifth on the 2019 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard, published by European Commission.

“Huawei is more than willing to continue sharing its leading R&D accomplishments with the industry and society as a whole. This includes both US companies and consumers, because sharing innovation more broadly is what drives the industry forward,” Huawei concluded.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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