Motorola Inc, the US maker of mobile phones and two-way radios, sued rival Huawei Technologies Co for allegedly conspiring with former employees to steal trade secrets.
Huawei began receiving the information as early as 2001, Schaumburg, Illinois-based Motorola claimed in an amended lawsuit filed July 16 in federal court in Chicago. Motorola originally sued five former workers in 2008 for allegedly taking trade secrets with them when they left to join Lemko Corp, which has a reseller agreement with Huawei.
In the amended complaint, Motorola claims a staff engineer shared information about a new transceiver and other Motorola technology with Ren Zhengfei, the founder of Shenzhen, China-based Huawei, which called the complaint "groundless." Motorola said it has recovered e-mail from the engineer's computer showing transmission of Motorola product specification documents marked "confidential" to Huawei.
"Huawei and its officers knew they were receiving stolen Motorola proprietary trade secrets and confidential information without Motorola's authorization and consent," according to the complaint.
Motorola accused Huawei of civil conspiracy and "threatened or actual" misappropriation of trade secrets and demanded the return of all proprietary trade secrets and damages.
"The complaint is groundless and utterly without merit," Charlie Chen, Huawei's senior vice president of North American marketing, said in an e-mailed statement. "Huawei has no relationship with Lemko, other than a reseller agreement. Huawei will vigorously defend itself against baseless allegations."