It’s no secret that Huawei and the U.S. government don’t see eye to eye. Between allegations of spying, executives being arrested, and more, you wouldn’t think that there could be any additional bad blood between the two. But according to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Justice Department is pursuing a criminal case against Huawei for alleged theft of trade secrets.
Back in 2014, T-Mobile was paying Huawei to produce phones for the carrier. During this relationship, Huawei employees utilized one of T-Mobile’s robots called “Tappy” that was used for quality-control tests on smartphones.
According to a lawsuit filed against the Chinese company, those employees not only stole information about the robot, but they also took the tip off of the machine which was used in the tests.
In 2017, a jury in Seattle, Washinton, ruled in favor of T-Mobile and awarded the company $4.8 million for Huawei’s breach of contract. While the company contested the lawsuit, it later conceded that its employees had acted improperly.
It was this lawsuit that reportedly started the Justice Department’s investigation into the company’s alleged theft of trade secrets. A source told the WSJ that the federal probe is still in an advanced stage, but it could lead to an indictment soon.
The Justice Department and Huawei both declined to comment on the WSJ’s report.