Huawei Begins To Trademark ‘Hongmeng’ Operating System

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Looming lockout from Google’s Android forces Chinese firm to trademark its backup operating system

Huawei Technologies is already undertaking backup plans after it was revealed the Chinese firm has applied for patents around the world for its new mobile operating system.

Huawei is reacting to the fallout after an executive order issued by President Donald Trump in mid May, that declared a national security emergency against Chinese firms.

This has caused all types of issues for the company. Earlier this week Huawei’s consumer division CEO Richard Yu confirmed it was cancelling the launch of a new laptop because it used Intel chip and Microsoft software from the US.

Huawei’s Mate X. Image credit: Huawei

US blacklisting

Huawei is having to make these decisions because immediately after Trump’s executive order, the US Commerce Department added Huawei and 70 affiliates to its so-called Entity List, which bans them from buying parts and components from US companies without US government approval.

That decision made it difficult, if not impossible, for Huawei, to sell some products because of its reliance on US suppliers for essential silicon and other components.

The US Commerce Department however has given Huawei a 90-day stay of execution to the imposition of trade restrictions on Huawei, but the Chinese firm said that the extension didn’t ‘mean much’.

Huawei is therefore still allowed to buy US goods until 19 August.

One of the consequences of the US blacklisting is that Google has said that after 19 August, it will restrict Huawei’s access to future Android operating system updates, which impacts Huawei’s ability to offer popular Google apps on its phones in the future.

Huawei however has already made some contingency plans.

For example it has been previously reported that the firm had built up a three month component inventory ahead of President Trumps executive order.

Huawei is also understood to have built its its own Android -based operating system.

For the time being though Huawei can still use the stripped down, open source version of Android that ships without Google Mobile Services.

And Huawei smartphone customers can still access Google’s app store, but this is not certain going forward and the Chinese vendor could be forced to offer third party apps via its own Huawei app store.

OS patent

And now Reuters has reported that Huawei has applied to trademark its “Hongmeng” operating system (OS) in at least nine countries and Europe.

Reuters found this out by checking data from UN World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). It found that Huawei has filed for a Hongmeng trademark in countries such as Cambodia, Canada, South Korea and New Zealand.

Huawei has also filed an application in Peru on 27 May, according to the country’s anti-trust agency Indecopi.

Richard Yu has previously told German newspaper Die Welt that Huawei has a back-up OS in case it is cut off from US-made software.

It has not been officially confirmed if the new OS is based on Android or the Kirin OS from a few years ago.

Huawei’s trademark applications do show that it wants to use the “Hongmeng” branding for devices such as smartphones, portable computers, robots and car televisions.

Huawei is also reported to have successfully trademarked Hongmeng in China.

The Chinese firm however declined to comment on the report, according to Reuters.

Huawei continues to denies the US allegations and is hitting back legally after it adjusted its lawsuit against the US government over the law that bans any federal agencies from using Huawei equipment on national security grounds. It is arguing that ban is ‘unconstitutional’.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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