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Huawei warns against politicizing IP issues

(Image credit: Huawei)

Huawei Technologies has warned against the politicization of innovation and intellectual property (IP) and said that it will threaten progress across the world. The Chinese telecom giant has been prevented from buying parts or technology from US suppliers without government approval as its equipment is considered potential tools for Chinese espionage which Huawei has openly denied. 

Song Liuping, Huawei’s chief legal officer, said in a statement that IP is the cornerstone of innovation and “if politicians use IP as a political tool, they will destroy confidence in the patent protection system. If some governments selectively strip companies of their IP, it will break the foundation of global innovation.”

In its latest white paper on innovation and intellectual property, Huawei has been granted 87,805 patents in 2018, of which 11,152 are US patents. Since 2015, Huawei has received over $1.4b in licensing revenue and also paid more than $6b in royalties to legally implement the IP of other companies, with nearly 80% of that paid to American companies, according to the document.

In the past 30 years, Song said that no court has ever concluded that Huawei engaged in malicious IP theft, and Huawei has never been required by the court to pay damages for this. Even though some countries do not buy products directly from Huawei, Song said that they still use the essential patents of Huawei in 3G, 4G and 5G, and share in the benefits of the technology Huawei creates.

Song also addressed Huawei’s stance on its use of patents, saying the company will not weaponize its portfolio of patents. Rather, he said, Huawei will adopt an open and cooperative attitude and follow the FRAND principle, or “fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory,” when engaging with relevant parties in the industry on patents licensing.

“As always, Huawei is ready and willing to share our technology with the world. That includes 5G. It includes US companies and US consumers. Together, we can drive our industry forward and advance technology for all mankind,” said Song.