Did Huawei steal and misappropriate T-Mobile’s smartphone testing secrets? A Seattle jury last week was convinced the Chinese-based company did, and recommended the Un-carrier take home some $4.8 million in damages.
According to a report in the Seattle Times, the lawsuit was originally filed by T-Mobile in 2014 but dates back even further to events that took place back in 2012 and 2013. In its original complaint, T-Mobile accused two Huawei employees of stealing designs and pieces of its smartphone-testing robot, Tappy. The robot simulates the touch of a finger during device testing to reduce costs and generate improved performance data.
Huawei allegedly used the technology to build its own version of the robot to test Huawei handsets sold to other carriers. The Chinese company, which cut its supply ties with T-Mobile after the lawsuit was filed, said it fired two employees for inappropriate actions but disputed the Un-carrier’s claims about stealing trade secrets.
The jury reportedly recommended $4.8 million in damages be awarded to T-Mobile for Huawei’s breach of its handset supply agreement, but concluded Huawei’s actions as far as trade secrets were not “willful and malicious.”
A Huawei spokesman said in a statement to various media outlets that the company is “analyzing the jury’s verdict and evaluating its legal options.”
“Huawei continues to believe in the merits of its defense to the allegations made by T-Mobile,” Huawei’s VP of External Affairs William Plummer said. “According to the jury’s verdict, T-Mobile was not awarded any damages relating to the trade secrets claim and there was no award of punitive damages. Although the jury awarded damages under the breach of contract allegation, the amount was a small fraction of what T-Mobile requested. Huawei is a global leader in innovation, and respect for intellectual property is a cornerstone value in our business.”