Just As We Warned: A Chinese Tech Giant Goes On The Patent Attack — In East Texas

from the we-don't-want-to-say-'we-told-you-so',-but... dept

Techdirt has been warning for years that the West’s repeated demands for China to “respect” patents could backfire badly. In 2010, Mike pointed out that Chinese companies were starting to amass huge patent portfolios, which were soon used as weapons against foreign firms operating in China, most notably Apple. In another 2010 post, Mike wrote the following:

Huawei, the Chinese networking giant, has taken over the lead as filing the most international patents of any company. Just wait until American companies, whose execs complained about China “not respecting intellectual property,” start getting sued in East Texas for violating Huawei’s patents.

And guess what? That is exactly what has just happened, as The Wall Street Journal reports:

Huawei Technologies Co. said it has filed a lawsuit against T-Mobile US Inc., alleging the U.S. telecommunications carrier violated the Chinese company?s patents related to wireless networks.

In its complaint filed this week in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Huawei said T-Mobile is using its patented technology without signing a licensing agreement.

There is an uncanny closeness between those two stories, even though six years separate them. In part, of course, that’s because of Mike’s ability to spot trends well ahead of others (no, he didn’t tell me to write that…) But it’s also down to the fact that this trend was really obvious to anyone who was able to consider the situation dispassionately. Sadly, that seems to exclude most of the people demanding that fast-growing economies around the world should start to “respect” patents.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and +glynmoody on Google+

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Companies: huawei, t-mobile

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Comments on “Just As We Warned: A Chinese Tech Giant Goes On The Patent Attack — In East Texas”

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Éibhear (profile) says:

Huawei will honour Mike

On the wall in the Huawei HQ, in the corridor leading to the main board-room, there hangs a 12′ picture of Mike, honouring him as the inspiration for the bold and soon-to-be lucrative move.

“…that’s because of Mike’s ability to spot trends well ahead of others (no, he didn’t tell me to write that…)”

Next to Mike’s portrait is a clear space with a small note reading: “Reserved for Glyn’s portrait, to be commissioned when his potential is realised.”

David says:


East Texas is a backwater place where the people constituting the juries and also the judges know which side they want to see their bread buttered on. Yes, the procedural simplifications of East Texas will also benefit the Chinese, so they’ll lose cheaper and faster.

The juries there might view favorably having a few well-sponsored taco bars opening for business. But wok joints? Not interested. I think that this experiment will not get a whole lot of repetitions.

Stosh says:

Problem: With many major international companies involved it can take years and many appeals to decide anything, and they turn the law into a pretzel.

Solution: Force the CEOs of the companies to compete in a WWF steel cage match, winner take all. Pay Per View could even turn a profit and the results would make as much sense as some of the court proceedings….

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