Motorola slams Huawei for spying

Motorola has sued its Chinese rival Huawei for allegedly conspiring with former employees to steal trade secrets.

The mobile phone maker said that in 2001 five of its former employees  left to join Lemko, which has a reseller agreement with Huawei.

Motorola originally sued five former workers in 2008 for allegedly taking trade secrets with them. Motorola claims a staff engineer shared information about a new transceiver and other Motorola technology with Ren Zhengfei of Huawei.

Motorola said it has recovered e-mail showing transmission of Motorola product specification documents marked “confidential” to Huawei. 

Charlie Chen, Huawei’s senior vice president of North American marketing,  told Bloomberg that the complaint was  groundless.

“Huawei has no relationship with Lemko, other than a reseller agreement and Huawei will vigorously defend itself against “baseless allegations”.

Motorola claims that Huawei and its officers knew they were receiving stolen Motorola proprietary trade secrets and confidential information without Motorola’s authorisation and consent.

The situation is bad news for the booming Chinese phone industry which is having a job convincing the world that it is not really spying and stealing trade secrets from western companies.  

Huawei and ZTE both want to push into foreign markets but are being clocked for one reason or another. India banned domestic phone companies from buying equipment made by Chinese vendors over concerns over security.  US government concerns over national security led Huawei to abandon a bid to buy 3Com Corp. in 2008.