Silicon Valley chip startup CNEXmicrochip, which has the backing of Microsoft and Dell, has accused Huawei Technologies of stealing trade secrets, alleging in court documents that Huawei deputy chairman Eric Xu directed an employee to pose as a potential customer to collect information on research and development. CNEX also alleges Huawei used a connection with Xiamen University in China to misappropriate trade secrets.
Huawei, in a countersuit filed earlier this month, alleges CNEX was stealing its trade secrets.
A spokesperson for Huawei said CNEX’s most recent filing stemmed from 2017 and called CNEX’s claims “misleading” and “unsubstantiated.” In 2017, Huawei alleged in a lawsuit that CNEX and one of its founders, Yiren Huang, stole its technology and unlawfully poached 14 employees. Huang was a former employee at Huawei’s office in Santa Clara, California.
CNEX did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
A trial is set for June 3 in federal court in the Eastern District of Texas.
The accusations come as Huawei faces action from the Trump administration, which last week effectively banned Huawei from importing U.S. technology, prompting Google to revoke Huawei’s Android license and chip designer ARM to suspend its business with the company. The Department of Commerce and its Bureau of Industry and Security later granted Huawei a “90-day temporary general license” to continue to use U.S. technology it already has a license to.
Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou is currently under house arrest in Vancouver fighting extradition. Meng is the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei. On May 15, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency over the “threat posed by the unrestricted acquisition or use in the United States of information and communications technology or services” by foreign adversaries. The order could allow the Trump administration to block American companies from doing business with Huawei.