Huawei sues Samsung over patents

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HuaweiImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Huawei says it has struck patent deals with several other tech firms

Huawei is suing its tech rival Samsung over claims that its patents have been infringed.

The Chinese firm said it was pursuing its South Korean rival in two courts - one in California, the other in Shenzhen.

According to Huawei, several of its cellular communications and software inventions had been used in Samsung's phones without its permission.

Samsung told the BBC it would defend its business interests.

The specific patents involved have not been disclosed.

However, Huawei has said at least some of them are classed as Frand - an acronym referring to "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory".

This means the Chinese company has committed itself to offering anyone a licence so long as they agree to a non-excessive compensation.

This kind of agreement is common in the tech sector as it makes it possible for different companies' products to communicate and share data formats with each other.

Huawei's intellectual property chief indicated it was seeking permission to use some of Samsung's technologies in return rather than seeking a payment.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Huawei has not specified which patents it has accused Samsung's phones of infringing

"Thus far, we have signed cross-licensing agreements with dozens of our competitors," said Ding Jianxing.

"We hope Samsung will respect Huawei's R&D investment and patents, stop infringing our patents and get the necessary licence from Huawei, and work together with Huawei to jointly drive the industry forward."

A Samsung spokesperson responded in an email to the BBC saying "we will thoroughly review the complaint and take appropriate action to defend Samsung's business interests".

Patent wars

The action comes at a time when Oracle and Google are waiting for a jury to come back with a verdict in a copyright trial that has pitted the two giants against each other in the US.

But such clashes have become less common since Apple and Samsung's high-profile courtroom battle in 2011, which led to both firms revealing secrets about their inner workings and racking up large legal bills.

One expert noted that just because papers had been filed in the latest case did not mean Huawei and Samsung would necessarily fight a similar battle in public.

"Huawei may have initiated litigation as lever to get a settlement," commented Ilya Kazi from the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys.

"We don't know if it intends to go all the way through. Most cases do settle."

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