In a surprise move Huawei sued its fellow Chinese vendor ZTE in the European courts for patent and trademark infringement. Specifically, Huawei accused ZTE of flouting patents it holds relating to data cards and LTE technology.
According to Huawei, the company has started legal action in Germany, France and Hungary with the aim of stopping ZTE from using Huawei patents and trademarks. ZTE is charged with branding some of its data cards with the Huawei brand.
Song Liuping, Huawei's chief legal officer, was reported by the Financial Times as wanting to resolve the dispute through negotiations. However, suggestions to decide the matter out of court using cross-licensing had not provoked a substantive response.
ZTE's reaction to this move was surprise and puzzlement, but it also made plain that it rejected the allegations and threatened to instigate legal action itself. ZTE on Friday sued Huawei in China fore infrnging on patents it holds for LTE.
In a statement carried by the Financial Times, ZTE said: "ZTE Corporation is astonished that Huawei Technologies has taken these legal actions. As a company listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, ZTE respects and adheres to international intellectual property laws and regulations without reservation, and absolutely rejects that there has been any patent and trademark infringement."
It also noted: "ZTE is always willing to negotiate on issues in good faith, but will definitely take vigorous legal action in situations like this to protect its interests and those of its customers worldwide."
However, a report carried by AFP said that Huawei had recently made public images of a ZTE-branded data card using a Huawei-registered trademark and patented design.
Earlier this month, Ericsson started legal procedures against ZTE in the UK, Germany and Italy over alleged infringement of patents for 2G and 3G technology. Ericsson said that it spent four years attempting to resolve the issue with ZTE with no results.
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