US mobile phone maker Motorola Inc has filed a lawsuit against Chinese telecom equipment giant Huawei Technologies Co of conspiring with its former employees to steal intellectual property over a number of years.
The Chinese networking gear maker, which is under the scanner of the Indian security agencies, had also been sued in 2003 by networking giant Cisco Systems for stealing its router code, which forced Huawei to remove its routers from the market.
The Motorola suit suggests that Huawei was running a complex espionage plot involving five former Motorola employees, four of whom held Chinese citizenship and another who held dual, US and Chinese citizenship.
The five were under the direct charge of Shenzhen-based Huawei's founder and CEO, Ren Zhengfei, a former People's Liberation Army officer, who is reported to have close links to Chinese intelligence agencies.
Schaumburg, Illinois-based Motorola had originally filed a suit in 2008 against Lemko, which was set up in 2004 by one of Motorola's ex employee Shaowei Pan, who become its chief technology officer, of stealing trade secrets of the company.
Motorola added Huawei's name in its July 2010 addendum to the suit, claiming that Lemko, also based in Schaumburg was established under the directions of Huawei on the garb of an equipment vendor to Huawei but with the sole purpose of facilitating Motorola's Chinese employees to pass on the company's intellectual property to Lemko, which in turn, passed on to Huawei.