US Department of Justice Charges Huawei With Stealing Trade Secrets

The US Justice Department has charged Huawei and two of its US-based subsidiaries with multiple counts of conspiracy to commit racketeering and conspiracy to steal trade secrets, among other things.

According to a new report from TechCrunch, the new charges pertain to Huawei’s alleged efforts to steal intellectual property from six US companies. According to the DOJ, Huawei used deceptive practices such as violating terms of agreements and rewards for its employees to steal confidential information from competitors, and managed to steal nonpublic information relating to internet router source code, cellular antenna technology and robotics.

“The misappropriated intellectual property includes trade secret information and copyrighted works, such as source code and user manuals for internet routers, antenna technology, and robot-testing technology,” the press release says.

According to the DOJ, Huawei repeatedly entered into confidentiality agreements with the unnamed victimized companies in order to steal their intellectual property, steal employees to misappropriate information from their former employers, and use researchers, professors, and other proxies to obtain and steal IP from other companies. Huawei allegedly instituted an internal bonus program that awarded employees who were able to steal IP from its competitors.

The DOJ says that Huawei’s efforts were successful and that it was able to drastically cut its own research and development costs and come to market more quickly, giving it “a significant and unfair competitive advantage.”

The alleged theft enabled Huawei illegally obtain nonpublic technology relating to internet router source code, cellular antenna technology, and robotics, giving the company an unfair competitive advantage, prosecutors said.

The report furthermore accuses Huawei of engaging in business with countries subject to US, EU, and U/N sanctions, including Iran and North Korea, as well as for trying to hide its involvement. Huawei is said to have used code names for these countries, such as “A2” for Iran, and “A9” for North Korea.

In a joint statement, Richard Burr and Mark Warner, the US Senate Intelligence Committee chairman and vice chairman, respectively, said: “the indictment paints a damning portrait of an illegitimate organization that lacks any regard for the law.”