US startup CNEX is suing Chinese tech giant Huawei for trying to steal its semiconductor technology.
The accusation is nothing out of the ordinary for Huawei, which has been locked out of the US market since 2012 over suspicious it used its gear to spy on US citizens.
What makes this case unique is CNEX founder Ronnie Huang, a Chinese-born US citizen who worked for Huawei before establishing his own company.
Huang was hired as an engineer by Huawei in January 2011.
According to CNEX’s filings, Huawei refused to purchase Huang’s pre-existing intellectual property and then later tried to trick him into signing it away as part of an employment agreement.
Huang left Huawei in 2013 and founded CNEX.
CNEX, which is supported by Microsoft and Dell, is working on storage technology to help massive data center manage the increasing volume of information generated by AI and other applications.
You can see how this technology would benefit a government trying to keep tabs on a population of more than 1 billion.
Huawei has been monitoring CNEX from the beginning, and even posed as a customer in an attempt to collect information. Last December, Huawei sued Mr. Huang for stealing trade secrets and for taking 14 employees away from the company.
As noted by Wall Street Journal writer Kate O’Keeffe, the dispute between Huawei and CNEX is “an unusual example of a Chinese company attempting to use the US court system to access technology it claims had been stolen from it by an American firm.”
Mr. Huang admits he recruited employees from Huawei, but denies allegations of intellectual property theft.
Huawei’s lawsuit is “premised on bogus claims of trade secret misappropriation and false claims of ownership of CNEX’s proprietary technology,” argues CNEX.
Meanwhile, Huawei is demanding that CNEX provide the court with all technical documents, including “testing plans, source code design documents, source code flowcharts, hardware design documents and schematics, hardware and software bug status reports, engineering personnel responsibility designations, client product delivery details, and production schedules.”
Huawei’s behavior here is sad but not surprising.
“This practice is part of a greater Chinese government campaign,” says Huang. “Of which Huawei is a major participant, to steal technological know-how from the US and surpass the US as the world’s technology leader by 2025.”
Editor’s note: China is getting more and more bold in its theft of U.S. technology. Anyone want to do something about this???