What you need to know
- Huawei is suing Verizon over allegedly infringing upon 12 of its patents.
- A Verizon spokesperson called the suit a "sneak attack on our company and the entire tech ecosystem."
- This lawsuit isn't the first time Huawei has gone after Verizon over a patent dispute, in 2019 it asked Verizon to pay over $1 billion for infringing on 230 of its patents.
On the morning of February 6, 2020, Huawei filed a lawsuit against Verizon in the Eastern and Western district courts in Texas. The suit alleges that Verizon has violated 12 of Huawei's networking patents without authorization.
Huawei is the largest telecom equipment provider in the world, with a research and development department to match. In 2018 alone, Huawei spent $15 billion on R&D, which is 15% of its overall revenue, and since 2015 it has received more than $1.4 billion from licensing patents that it owns. In a statement, Huawei also said, "it has also paid over $6 billion dollars for the legitimate use of patented technologies developed by industry peers. 80 percent of these license fees have gone to companies in the United States."
In a release, Huawei's chief legal officer had this to say, "Verizon's products and services have benefited from patented technology that Huawei developed over many years of research and development."
Huawei 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.
In response to the lawsuit, Verizon called it "nothing more than a PR stunt" in an email sent to CNET.
This lawsuit is a sneak attack on our company and the entire tech ecosystem," spokesperson Rich Young said. "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.
Huawei's most recent lawsuit against Verizon isn't the first time the two companies have butted heads over patents. In June of 2019, Huawei asked Verizon to pay over $1 billion in licensing fees for the unauthorized use of 230 different networking patents.
According to a person familiar with the situation when speaking to The Verge, Huawei is only focusing on 12 patents in this suit because it has strong evidence against Verizon. Courts also prefer to deal with smaller numbers, and if found guilty it could cost Verizon up to hundreds of millions of dollars.
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