Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker, has sued Verizon in two cases for patent infringement in Texas District Courts. Huawei alleged that Verizon infringed on 12 patents that cover computer networking, security, video communications, and other topics. Huawei claimed that Verizon did not license the patents, despite claims the two companies attempted to negotiate, but could not agree on licensing terms. Huawei has sought compensation from damages and royalty payments. However, Verizon called the suits “a PR stunt…a sneak attack on our company and the entire tech ecosystem.”
The two suits are unrelated to 5G technology but discuss information necessary for a functioning network. Huawei received more than $1.4 billion in patent licensing fees since 2015 and paid more than $6 billion to date for patent licenses from other companies. Huawei at one point was trying to negotiate over 200 patent licenses with Verizon. They only sued over the infringement of 12 patents, because they have strong proof of the infringement.
In a statement, Huawei said the company “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.” Additionally, “Verizon’s products and services have benefited from patented technology that Huawei developed over many years of research and development,” Dr. Song Liuping, Huawei’s Chief Legal Officer, said. Huawei claimed it re-invests 10 to 15 percent of its revenue back into research and development each year, spending in excess of $70 billion for research and development in the last decade, creating more than 10,000 patents in the United States and 80,000 worldwide. Dr. Song added, that Huawei, “invest[s] heavily in R&D because we want to provide our customers with the best possible telecommunications solutions…We share these innovations with the broader industry through license agreements.” The company noted, that if it cannot reach licensing terms it must sue if the other company is using its intellectual property.
In a counter-statement, Verizon replied, “Huawei’s real target is not Verizon; it is any country or company that defies it. The action lacks merit, and we look forward to vigorously defending ourselves.”
The suit comes amidst a turbulent publicity period for Huawei. The company, particularly its 5G networking technology, has been called a national security threat by the United States, which has banned the devices. The United Kingdom angered the United States by including Huawei in its 5G purchasing roadmap.