The year was 2014, and the relationship between T-Mobile and Huawei looked about as pleasant as an aggravated ant hill. T-Mobile was using patented Huawei 4G technology, and the Chinese smartphone maker extended them an offer to reach a licensing agreement and sign non-disclosure forms. In response, the Bellevue-based “Uncarrier” gave Huawei the corporate equivalent of the silent treatment, and negotiations ground to a halt.
Tensions between the two companies were high even outside of this issue, for context. That same year, T-Mobile accused Huawei of attempting to steal robotic phone testing technology. Huawei staffers allegedly took illegal photographs of patented robo-tech, stole testing gear, and attempted to break into restricted facilities. T-Mobile sued.
Two years later, Huawei wants to put one of these two issues to bed. The company is suing T-Mobile for patent infringements, but they aren’t asking for any damages. All they are asking is for a court to rule that the offer that they extended to T-Mobile to license the infringed technologies were under “fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms.” No money changes hands.
If this were the only issue to take into consideration, it would appear that Huawei is laying the strategic groundwork for a more robust legal battle over the patents. If a court formally establishes that Huawei’s offer was reasonable, then future cases regarding these patents would see T-Mobile on unstable footing. However, since T-Mobile’s lawsuit against Huawei regarding pilfered robot technology is still well underway, it might be the case that this no-damages settlement could serve as either an olive branch or leverage to encourage the Uncarrier to lay off the heat.
What are your thoughts regarding this recent legal development between Huawei and the Uncarrier? Let us know in the comments below!