Over $6b in IP royalties paid by Huawei, nearly 80% to US firms

Chinese giant has received $1.4 billion in licensing revenue since 2015.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor
(Image: Huawei)

Huawei has said it has paid more than $6 billion in patent royalties since 2001, with nearly 80% paid to companies from the United States.

For money headed in the opposite direction, Huawei claimed it had over 10 outbound licence agreements for which it has received over $1.4 billion since 2015, achieved through "amicable negotiations".

In the white paper [PDF] released on Thursday, Huawei said it "actively contributes to the legislative processes" regarding intellectual property in China, and helps align Chinese IP protection with international legislation.

"We make suggestions on the legislation and amendment of China's IP protection laws, including the Patent Law, Trademark Law, Copyright Law, Criminal Law and Anti-Monopoly Law, as well as their implementation rules and legal interpretations," the company said.

"In doing so, we aim to strengthen IP protection and help create a better environment for innovation and IP protection in China."

The white paper aligned with comments from Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei last week, who claimed the company could not have committed historic intellectual property theft.

See: Chinese vendors bookend 5G RAN market

"Even if we were small, we have very strong business ethics and integrity, otherwise we cannot come to where we are today," Ren said.

"The claims of Huawei theft of IPR, that's not possible."

Huawei said on Thursday that it respects, applies, and contributes to IP rules.

"Huawei respects the IP belonging to other parties, and is committed to protecting its own. We have signed patent cross-license agreements with many international ICT companies, and we contribute to creating an environment in which innovation and IP are well protected both within the industry and in every country where we operate," it said.

"We strive to resolve these disputes through amicable negotiations. We will also resort to judicial procedures or arbitration for dispute resolution if no agreement can be reached through negotiation."

In 2003, Cisco sued the Chinese giant for infringing on its patents and copying its source code.

Almost a decade later, Cisco called Huawei out for stating the suit was unjustified, and challenged Huawei to release an expert report from the time on the incident.

"In fact, within a few months of filing suit, Cisco obtained a worldwide injunction against sale by Huawei of products, including our code for a Cisco-proprietary routing protocol called EIGRP, and Huawei publicly admitted that the code had been used in their products and they pledged to stop," Cisco's senior vice president, general counsel, and secretary Mark Chandler said at the time.

Also: The winner in the war on Huawei is Samsung  

Huawei is currently facing charges in the US for allegedly stealing trade secrets from T-Mobile. The alleged activity occurred during 2012-13, and relates to Huawei's attempts to build a robot similar to the one T-Mobile was using at the time to test mobile phones.

The US indictment related to the case alleges Huawei offered bonuses to employees for stealing information, before needing to clarifying for its US employees that such behaviour would be illegal.

"The charges unsealed today clearly allege that Huawei intentionally conspired to steal the intellectual property of an American company in an attempt to undermine the free and fair global marketplace," FBI Director Christopher Wray said in January.

The Chinese giant pleaded not guilty.

On Thursday, Huawei used language to step around these legal issues.

"In the past 30 years, 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."

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