Huawei sues ZTE for patent violation

Michael Carroll
29 Apr 2011

Huawei has thrown a spanner in the works of rival ZTE’s mobile devices plan, suing for patent and trademark infringement in a handful of European courts.

The Chinese vendor claims infringement of patents covering data card and LTE technologies, and trademark infringement on data card products, in lawsuits filed in France, Germany and Hungary just days after ZTE revealed handsets are a cornerstone of its long-term plans.

Song Luiping, chief legal officer of Huawei, states the firm hopes to force ZTE round the negotiating table after it rejected all previous attempts to discuss the matter. “Our objective is to stop the illegal use of Huawei’s intellectual property and resolve this dispute through negotiation so that our technology is used in a lawful manner.”

ZTE predictably responded with a statement refuting the allegations. The firm is a respectable member of the Hong Kong stock exchange and so “respects and adheres to international intellectual property laws,” and is “always willing to negotiate on issues in good faith.”

Recent figures from Maravedis rank Huawei and ZTE second and third respectively in terms of the percentage of LTE network contracts won at end 1Q11.

Data cards have always been among the first devices running new mobile technology to hit the streets, so any injunction on shipments could hamper ZTE’s ambitions in the handset and LTE markets.

He Shiyou, the firm’s executive vice president, detailed the firm’s plans to make devices a key part of a new branding strategy in an interview earlier this week. He told TelecomAsia Europe is a key market in a push to grow handset shipments 33% in 2011 and becoming a leading light in the smartphone and tablet sectors.

The firm’s German subsidiary is currently preparing to tackle an Ericsson patent infringement case relating to base station products, while in the UK it faces a separate Ericsson action covering handsets.

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