Chinese telecom giant Huawei, which has put down strong roots in Canada, is now encountering more trouble in other G7 countries, with a German lawsuit this week alleging that the Shenzhen company has stolen state-of-the-art technology, and Congressional pressure on Google to cut ties with the firm.
This week, Israel’s SolarEdge Technologies filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against Huawei in German court, seeking compensation for damages as well as recall of all Huawei products that have been built with allegedly purloined intellectual property.
And U.S. lawmakers, who have already urged a probe of Huawei Technologies’ research activities at American universities, are now urging American internet giant Google to reconsider its partnership with the company.
Senators Marco Rubio and Tom Cotton are among the members of Congress who wrote to Google chief executive Sundar Pichai, voicing concerns about Huawei’s strong ties to the Chinese Communist Party that rules China’s one-party state and arguing that this constitutes a threat to national security.
Previously, Google opted not to renew a controversial contract with the U.S. military, in which it provided artificial intelligence to the U.S. Department of Defense for analyzing drone footage. The United States also currently faces a brewing trade war with China.
The members of Congress asked Google’s Mr. Pichar to explain “your decision to partner with Huawei but not the U.S. military,” as well as how the American tech giant’s plans to mitigate what they call the “grave risks of working with Huawei.”
Article 7 of China’s 2017 National Intelligence Law says Chinese companies must “support, co-operate with and collaborate in national intelligence work and guard the secrecy of national intelligence work they are aware of.”
These developments follow news that Australia is considering banning Huawei from supplying equipment for its next-generation 5G mobile network, as well as calls by three former directors of Canada’s key national-security agencies to keep the Chinese national firm out of Canadian 5G infrastructure, too.
Earlier this week, 26 U.S. senators and members of the House of Representatives called for a probe of Huawei’s U.S. university partnerships, citing intelligence reports that China is using these to acquire foreign technology. In a recent investigation into Huawei’s involvement on Canadian university campuses, The Globe and Mail detailed how the Chinese company has established relationships with leading research-heavy universities. These relationships create a steady pipeline of intellectual property that the company is using to underpin its market position in next-generation 5G mobile technology.
Chiefs of six U.S. intelligence agencies and three former heads of Canada’s spy services recently said that Huawei is one of the world’s top cyberintelligence threats, and that its 5G technology could be used to conduct remote spying, to maliciously modify or steal information or even shut down systems.
The company released a statement this week on the German lawsuit from SolarEdge. “Huawei has just been served with the complaint filed by SolarEdge, and is evaluating the claims. Huawei does not believe that it has infringed any valid patent rights of SolarEdge and, accordingly, will defend its rights vigorously,” it said.
Although known chiefly as a telecommunications-equipment company, Huawei also competes against SolarEdge in the smart energy market.
“The [photovoltaic] industry cannot sustain such efforts under the constant threat of, in our view, illegal use of proprietary technology and we will not remain silent as our intellectual property is exploited,” Guy Sella, CEO of SolarEdge, said in a statement.