On August 30, 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Department of Justice probed Huawei on alleged theft of smartphone-camera patents. These allegations are false. Huawei would like to issue the following clarifications regarding these claims, as well as recent probes by the U.S. government mentioned in the Wall Street Journal’s report:
On May 28, 2014, representatives from Huawei’s U.S. subsidiary met with Mr. Rui Pedro Oliveira per his request. At the meeting, Mr. Oliveira pitched his camera design, which he alleged to have U.S. patent pending, to Huawei. Huawei did not use his design.
In 2017, Huawei started to sell EnVizion 360 panoramic camera, independently designed and developed by Huawei’s employees having no access to Mr. Oliveira’s information. Unlike Mr. Oliveira’s single-lens and expandable design, Huawei’s camera was non-expandable, featured lenses on both sides designed for panoramic pictures.
Beginning in April 2018 and continuing through March 2019, Mr. Oliveira began e-mailing Huawei, claiming that the EnVizion360 had infringed his U.S. patents. In his e-mails, he repeatedly issued threats, saying that if Huawei did not pay an extortionate amount of money, he would go to the media and exert pressure through political channels.
Huawei categorically rejects Mr. Oliveira’s claims of patent infringement, and has provided detailed documents in support of its stance (see visual comparisons of the two products below as example). Nevertheless, Mr. Oliveira proceeded to feed a false narrative to the media in an attempt to tarnish Huawei’s reputation. He made further efforts to exert pressure on Huawei through senior government officials, trying to make the company cede to his demands and hand over large sums of money.
On March 26, 2019, in order to defend the company’s reputation and protect its legitimate rights and interests, Huawei filed a complaint against Mr. Oliveira before U.S. court for a declaration of non-infringement of Mr. Oliveira’s U.S. patents. This is a normal civil procedure. However, Mr. Oliveira declined to accept the service of Huawei’s complaint and summons, resulting in delaying of the court proceedings.
It’s clear that Mr. Oliveira is taking advantage of the current geopolitical situation. He is pushing a false narrative through the media in an attempt to capitalise on a dispute. This type of behavior should not be encouraged, nor should it be considered rational justification for a criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.
For the past several months, the U.S. government has been leveraging its political and diplomatic influence to lobby other governments to ban Huawei equipment. Furthermore, it has been using every tool at its disposal – including both judicial and administrative powers, as well as a host of other unscrupulous means – to disrupt the normal business operations of Huawei and its partners. These include:
- Instructing law enforcement to threaten, menace, coerce, entice, and incite both current and former Huawei employees to turn against the company and work for them
- Unlawfully searching, detaining, and even arresting Huawei employees and Huawei partners
- Attempting entrapment, or pretending to be Huawei employees to establish legal pretense for unfounded accusations against the company
- Launching cyber attacks to infiltrate Huawei’s intranet and internal information systems
- Sending FBI agents to the homes of Huawei employees and pressuring them to collect information on the company
- Mobilising and conspiring with companies that work with Huawei, or have a business conflict with Huawei, to bring unsubstantiated accusations against the company
- Launching investigations based on false media reports that target the company
- Digging up old civil cases that have already been settled, and selectively launching criminal investigations or filing criminal charges against Huawei based on claims of technology theft
- Obstructing normal business activities and technical communications through intimidation, denying visas, detaining shipment, etc.
The fact remains that none of Huawei’s core technology has been the subject of any criminal case brought against the company, and none of the accusations levied by the U.S. government have been supported with sufficient evidence. We strongly condemn the malign, concerted effort by the U.S. government to discredit Huawei and curb its leadership position in the industry.
Huawei has invested heavily in R&D for more than 30 years. We have more than 180,000 hard-working employees around the globe. We have won the trust and support of our customers, suppliers, and partners.
This is the source of our company’s success. No company becomes a global leader in their field through theft.
Appendix: Comparison of Oliveira’s design patent and Huawei’s EnVizion 360 camera
- Oliveira’s design has only one single, expandable zoom lens on one side of the device.
- Huawei’s device has lenses on both sides, and they are contained in a large convex housing. Neither expand from the surface of the device.
Huawei’s EnVizion 360 camera Oliveira’s design
Huawei’s EnVizion 360 camera Oliveira’s design