The Chinese vendor claims infringement of patents covering data card and LTE technologies, and trademark infringement on data card products, in lawsuits filed in France, Germany and Hungary just days after ZTE revealed handsets are a cornerstone of its long-term plans.
Song Luiping, chief legal officer of Huawei, states the firm hopes to force ZTE round the negotiating table after it rejected all previous attempts to discuss the matter. â€œOur objective is to stop the illegal use of Huaweiâ€™s intellectual property and resolve this dispute through negotiation so that our technology is used in a lawful manner.â€
ZTE predictably responded with a statement refuting the allegations. The firm is a respectable member of the Hong Kong stock exchange and so â€œrespects and adheres to international intellectual property laws,â€ and is â€œalways willing to negotiate on issues in good faith.â€
Data cards have always been among the first devices running new mobile technology to hit the streets, so any injunction on shipments could hamper ZTEâ€™s ambitions in the handset and LTE markets.
He Shiyou, the firmâ€™s executive vice president, detailed the firmâ€™s plans to make devices a key part of a new branding strategy in an interview earlier this week. He told TelecomAsia Europe is a key market in a push to grow handset shipments 33% in 2011 and becoming a leading light in the smartphone and tablet sectors.
The firmâ€™s German subsidiary is currently preparing to tackle an Ericsson patent infringement case relating to base station products, while in the UK it faces a separate Ericsson action covering handsets.
Michael Carroll | Telecom Asia