24 October 2018

Ex-employee accuses Huawei of 'corporate espionage' to aid China

Former employee accuses the company of using a lawsuit against his Silicon Valley startup as part of a strategy to steal intellectual property.

A former employee of Huawei Technologies Co has accused the company of using a lawsuit against his Silicon Valley startup as part of a strategy to steal intellectual property and help China achieve technological dominance over the US.

Underhand

Former employee Yiren 'Ronnie' Huang, said in a court filing the litigation was ‘the latest in a long line of underhanded tactics, by the telecommunications equipment manufacturer, which has had its North American headquarters in Plano since 2001 and employs more than 1,000 people across North America. Huawei and its FutureWei unit sued Mr Huang and his startup CNEX Labs Inc last December, accusing him of taking sensitive trade secrets related to technology that uses integrated circuits as memory to store data. Mr Huang had been hired as an engineer by FutureWei in Santa Clara, California, in January 2011 and left to form CNEX in 2013. Mr Huang said Huawei had hired him so the Chinese company could take control of his inventions for Solid State Disk Non-Volatile Memory and then sought to obtain proprietary information from his new company. According to Huawei's original complaint, Mr Huang and CNEX began filing patent applications less than a month after he left FutureWei, claining he ‘used information he obtained through his employment at FutureWei along with FutureWei's resources and technology in drafting these patent applications.’

Orchestrated

Mr Huang's filing seeks to capitalize on a number of corporate espionage allegations filed by  American companies and a congressional report that has stated Huawei equipment ‘could undermine core U.S. national-security interests.’ In his filing, Mr Huang states ‘Huawei and FutureWei have served as critical participants in a corporate espionage campaign orchestrated to steal intellectual property from American technology companies, like CNEX, in hopes of surpassing the United States as the world's predominant technological superpower by 2025.’