Semiconductor startup company from San Jose, CNEX Labs, is getting sued by Huawei for allegedly taking trade secrets without consent. But now CNEX strikes back, saying that the deputy chairman of Huawei was the one who conspired to steal CNEX’s intellectual property.
CNEX (supported by Microsoft and Dell) accuses Eric Xu – a rotating CEO for Huawei – of operating in conjunction with other Huawei members to swipe their proprietary tech. The trial is marked for the 3rd of June, but the conflict began in 2017 when CNEX, along with one of their founders, Yiren Huang, was sued by Huawei for stealing their property as well as several of their employees. Huang used to be an employee in Huawei’s Santa Clara division.
A bad moment for Huawei
This is terrible timing for Huawei, as only a week ago the company was put on the trade blacklist by the Trump administration. The administration additionally signed an order which essentially makes it impossible for U.S companies to have any business interaction with Huawei, alongside several other companies that were seen as threatening to national security. Because of this, corporate giants such as Google, Intel, ARM, and Qualcomm have seized all ongoing business with Huawei.
Court filings indicated that an engineer from Huawei was instructed by Eric Xu to assess technical data from CNEX by posing as a customer. The engineer met with CNEX authorities in June 2016, after which, a report was made containing information about CNEX’s technology and it was placed in a competitor database operated by Huawei’s chip development unit.
According to CNEX attorneys, supposedly Xiamen University was also part of the strategy to steal their secrets. They say that in 2017, the university procured a CNEX memory board through a licensing agreement that stated the board would be utilized for academic study. However, Eugene Mar, an attorney for CNEX, said, “what was hidden from CNEX was that Xiamen was working with Huawei and had entered into an agreement separately with Huawei to provide them with all of their research test reports”.