Another day, another spout of bad news for Huawei. According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, the Chinese company is now being investigated by federal prosecutors for reportedly stealing trade secrets from T-Mobile in the United States.
According to WSJ:
The investigation grew in part out of civil lawsuits against Huawei, including one in which a Seattle jury found Huawei liable for misappropriating robotic technology from T-Mobile's Bellevue, Wash., lab, the people familiar with the matter said. The probe is at an advanced stage and could lead to an indictment soon, they said.
That incident with T-Mobile was first brought to life with a civil suit that was filed back in 2014. During that time, three Huawei employees are said to have taken unsolicited photos of a T-Mobile robot (nicknamed "Tappy") that was used for quality control tests on smartphones.
In one alleged instance, two Huawei employees slipped a third one into the testing lab to take unauthorized photos of the robot. One employee also tried to hide the fingerlike tip of "Tappy" behind a computer monitor so that it would be out of view of a security camera, and then tried to sneak it out of the lab in his laptop-computer bag, according to the lawsuit.
Huawei fought against the allegations from T-Mobile, saying that nothing was stolen from T-Mobile as videos of Tappy can be easily found on YouTube. Even so, the case finally got a trial in 2017 and saw T-Mobile get rewarded with $4.8 million.
It's unclear how many more damages Huawei may have to pay now that a criminal investigation is getting underway, but we'll be sure to follow this and see where things go from here.