US Start-Up Accuses Top Huawei Executive Of Conspiracy To Steal Trade Secrets

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The confrontation between Huawei and a start-up co-founded by one of its ex-employees arrives amidst broader trade tensions with China

Huawei and one of its top executives have been accused of a conspiracy to steal trade secrets by a Silicon Valley start-up dealing in solid-state drive (SSD) technology for large cloud data centres.

Start-up CNEX Labs accused Huawei deputy chairman Eric Xu of taking part in the conspiracy, according to The Wall Street Journal, which reported the matter last week, citing court filings.

Huawei sued CNEX in 2017 saying the company and its co-founder Ronnie Huang, a former Huawei employee, allegedly poached Huawei employees and stole trade secrets and intellectual property in order to launch the start-up.

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In its countersuit, CNEX said Huawei improperly obtained CNEX trade secrets and used its relationship with a Chinese university to improperly access the start-up’s SSD technology.

Huawei said in a statement the allegations against Xu were “groundless” and that the proceedings would on the contrary prove that it was CNEX that stole Huawei’s technology, and not the other way around.

CNEX did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The CNEX charges against Huawei are set to come to trial on 3 June in federal court in the Eastern District of Texas.

The trial comes to a head amidst trade tensions between the US and China, stemming in part from US concerns over alleged misappropriations of Western technologies by China.

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