What happened: A former employee of Huawei has accused the company of sueing his startup to steal intellectual property. After two years in Huawei, Yiren “Ronnie” Huang left to become the CTO of Silicon Valley-based CNEX but in December 2017, Huawei sued Huang claiming he had stolen sensitive trade secrets. Huang is claiming that Huawei is the one stealing IP and that Huawei hired him to take control of his inventions and later sought to obtain proprietary information from his startup.
Why it’s important: This is no ordinary IP lawsuit. Huang has also accused Huawei and its unit FutureWei of being “critical participants in a corporate espionage campaign orchestrated to steal intellectual property from American technology companies.” Huang is seemingly capitalizing on US suspicions towards Huawei, including corporate espionage allegations and fears over the supply chain security. The Huawei-CNEX case is one of many stories of Chinese IP theft published by media in recent months.