Huawei faces U.S. criminal investigation for stealing T-Mobile technology



Back in 2014, T-Mobile filed a civil suit against Huawei, accusing the Chinese manufacturing firm with stealing the robotic technology it uses to tests phones. The carrier sought $500 million in damages; three years later, T-Mobile was awarded $4.8 million by a jury. Now, a new report published this afternoon by The Wall Street Journal, reveals that Federal prosecutors are planning to start a criminal investigation of Huawei because of its alleged theft of T-Mobile's tech secrets.

According to the report, at the time that this alleged technology theft occurred, T-Mobile ordered Huawei handsets to sell to its customers. The carrier used a robot called "Tappy" to perform Quality Control (QC) tests on the handsets that it carried. T-Mobile claimed in its filing related to the civil suit, that Huawei employees started asking T-Mobile about "Tappy," with some of the questions related to proprietary technology used to create the robot. T-Mobile security cameras even captured a Huawei employee disassembling part of "Tappy," and placing it into his laptop bag. The employee later admitted that he stole the part in order to improve Huawei's own testing robot. Another time, a Huawei employee, smuggled into the testing lab by two other men working for the company, snapped photographs of "Tappy."

Huawei claims that it didn't steal trade secrets because the robot was the subject of several YouTube videos (click on the video at the top of this article), and the specs and designs of it were found in patents that were published for anyone to see. T-Mobile broke off its dealing with Huawei due to the incident, and the carrier wrote in its civil complaint that "Huawei has used the robot technology it misappropriated from T-Mobile to unjustly gain a commercial advantage worth hundreds of millions of dollars."

The news comes the day after Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei said that his company does not use its devices to spy on behalf of the Chinese government. The U.S. government has accused the company of being a national security threat, and has warned allies not to use Huawei's networking equipment to build out their 5G networks. Last year, when AT&T and Verizon planned on offering the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, it is believed that U.S. authorities told both carriers to back out of their deals.

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11 Comments

2. dimas

Posts: 3341; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

Benchmark deceptions, aggresive false marketing claims, espionage, technology stealing? That's huawei's wolf culture to the world. I won't be surprised if other carriers ban huawei from their product offers.

7. mootu

Posts: 1499; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

Thats odd because you pretty much described Apple. Pot calling kettle? Benchmark deceptions - Around 2 years ago Geekbench was updated to favour Apple devices. but in real life they are no faster than Android counterparts. Aggresive false marketing claims - Apple is the king of false marketing, it's their strongest forte. Espionage, technology stealing - Once again another thing Apple is getting a name for. Just look at the companies that Apple asked for samples only for the tech to appear on the next Apple devices. Just look at the ip theft cases Apple are having to deal with over the years, there is quite a few. Apples usual strategy is to steal someones ip then drag it through the courts for years hoping the complainant can't afford to keep the court cases going while they are raking in billions from others work.

9. razmahtaz001

Posts: 501; Member since: May 11, 2013

actually, he's describing the u.s. and other countries for what huawei is being accused of lol...stealing and espionage is what major countries do to other countries...and to their allies too ffs lol

11. dimas

Posts: 3341; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

@razmahtaz001 Can you tell me which government is clean and don't do that to each other? Huawei is a private company so they should come clean to their investors even just for a show. You huawei fanbois really get salty and get out of topic when your peacock company get bad articles.

10. dimas

Posts: 3341; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

@mootu Do you really have to bring up apple in every article? Why don't you just stick to the article topic?

3. Subie

Posts: 2350; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

Shame on Huawei! But at the same time I'd like T-Mobile to explain how it feels justice needed to be served in the sum of half a billion dollars...

4. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1376; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

The timing of this investigation seems a little too convenient. Can't the US government just admit they've declared war on Chinese tech in the country and be done with it?

6. technitude

Posts: 263; Member since: Dec 19, 2013

Maybe this is the problem. Some companies don't understand: A patent is NOT a set of instructions on what to do. It's a set of instructions on what NOT to do.

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