Hauwei Accuses FBI Of Harassing Workers

Huawei has hit back hard, after the Wall Street Journal reported that the US Department of Justice has investigated the firm over alleged theft of smartphone-camera patents.

The Chinese firm issued the response after it was alleged that it had stolen smartphone camera patents from Portuguese inventor Rui Pedro Oliveira.

And Huawei went on to accuse the US government of carrying out an “unscrupulous” campaign against its employees.

Huawei FBI

In its statement, Huawei said that its representatives from Huawei’s US subsidiary meet with Rui Pedro Oliveira per his request on 28 May 2014.

“At the meeting, Mr. Oliveira pitched his camera design, which he alleged to have US patent pending, to Huawei. Huawei was not interested in his product and no further contact was made.”

Huawei then said that four years later in April 2018, and continuing through to March 2019, Oliveira began emailing Huawei, claiming that the EnVizion360 camera had infringed his US patents.

“In his emails, he repeatedly issued threats, saying that if Huawei did not pay an extortionate amount of money, he would go to the media and exert pressure through political channels,” said the Chinese firm.

“Huawei categorically rejects Mr. Oliveira’s claims of patent infringement, and has provided detailed documents in support of its stance,” it said. “Nevertheless, Mr. Oliveira proceeded to feed a false narrative to the media in an attempt to tarnish Huawei’s reputation. He made further efforts to exert pressure on Huawei through senior government officials, trying to make the company cede to his demands and hand over large sums of money.”

In March this year Huawei responded by filing a complaint against Oliveira before US court for a declaration of non-infringement of Mr. Oliveira’s US patents.

“It’s clear that Mr. Oliveira is taking advantage of the current geopolitical situation,” said Huawei. “He is pushing a false narrative through the media in an attempt to capitalize on a dispute. This type of behaviour should not be encouraged, nor should it be considered rational justification for a criminal investigation by the US Department of Justice.”

US harassment

And Huawei then went on to lambast the DoJ, saying the US government has been leveraging its political and diplomatic influence to lobby other governments to ban Huawei equipment.

It also alleged that the US government is “instructing law enforcement to threaten, menace, coerce, entice, and incite both current and former Huawei employees to turn against the company and work for them.”

It said the US is unlawfully searching, detaining, and even arresting employees and Huawei partners; is attempting entrapment; and even launching cyber attacks to infiltrate Huawei’s intranet and internal information systems.

The Chinese firm also said the US was sending FBI agents to the homes of Huawei employees and pressuring them to collect information on the company.

“We strongly condemn the malign, concerted effort by the US government to discredit Huawei and curb its leadership position in the industry,” said the firm.

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Tom Jowitt @TJowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

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