What happened: Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei filed a lawsuit against US tech firm InterDigital earlier this month, accusing the company of failing to license its patents in China fairly. In the filing to the Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court, Huawei accused InterDigital of violating its obligation to license patents, specifically those that are essential to 3G, 4G, and 5G wireless telecommunication requirements, on fair terms. InterDigital said its patent licensing agreement with Huawei expired at the end of 2018.
Why it’s important: The lawsuit comes amid escalating trade tensions between the US and China. Just last month, US President Donald Trump was reportedly considering an executive order that would limit US carriers and companies from using network equipment from Huawei and ZTE. In the months prior, the US urged its allies to exclude the Chinse telecom equipment maker from their 5G rollout plans. Although China and US agreed on a temporary ceasefire in December, the news of the indictment of Huawei’s CFO that came days later seemed to further drive a wedge between China and the US.