Huawei came out swinging against reports it stole smartphone-camera technology



Ren Zhengfei pointing

  • Huawei has published a fiery public denial against recent allegations that it stole smartphone-camera technology.
  • The Wall Street Journal reported last week that US prosecutors are following new lines of enquiry into Huawei over alleged intellectual property thefts. One line of enquiry centered around a Portuguese multimedia producer who claims Huawei infringed on his US patent for a smartphone camera.
  • But Huawei denied the claims in the Journal’s report, showing side-by-side images of the patented design against its own allegedly infringing camera. 
  • Huawei also lashed out more generally against the US, claiming it had been the target of cyberattacks, and that FBI agents had tried to intimidate its employees into acting as spies.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Huawei has issued an acerbic public statement following a report from the Wall Street Journal last week that US prosecutors are investigating new allegations of intellectual property theft.

One of the lines of investigation mentioned in the Journal’s report was a claim from a Portuguese multimedia producer called Rui Oliveira, who accused Huawei of infringing on smartphone camera tech patents that he had filed in the US.

“Huawei categorically rejects Mr. Oliveira’s claims of patent infringement, and has provided detailed documents in support of its stance,” Huawei said in its press statement.

Read more: Huawei is accused of attempting to copycat a T-Mobile robot, and the charges read like a comical spy movie

According to Huawei, Oliveira pitched the company his camera design in 2014, which the company did not take up.

In its statement, Huawei provided a side-by-side comparison of its EnVizion 360 panoramic camera with Oliveira’s design. The Journal didn’t specify which model of Huawei camera allegedly infringed Oliveira’s design.

“Unlike Mr. Oliveira’s single-lens and expandable design, Huawei’s camera was non-expandable, featured lenses on both sides designed for panoramic pictures,” Huawei says.

Huawei Oliveira camera designs

“It’s clear that Mr. Oliveira is taking advantage of the current geopolitical situation,” Huawei wrote.

The company is currently locked in a firefight with the US government, which blacklisted Huawei in May on national security grounds, as it claims the company acts as a proxy for Chinese government to spy. Huawei denies this.

Huawei claims that Oliveira sent threatening emails from April 2018 to March 2019 claiming he would go to the media or go through “political channels” if Huawei didn’t pay out. It claims that he tried to exert pressure through “senior government officials,” although it doesn’t name names.

Huawei accused the US of trying to recruit its employees as internal spies

In its statement, Huawei went on to portray Oliveira’s allegations against the company as a mutually beneficial scheme for himself and the US government, claiming the US has been using “both judicial and administrative powers” to disrupt Huawei’s business.

It then presented a long list of tactics the US has allegedly deployed, including:

  • Searching, detaining, and arresting Huawei staffers and partners.
  • Launching cyber attacks to infiltrate Huawei’s intranet and internal information systems.
  • Sending FBI agents to the homes of Huawei employees to try and recruit them to hand over information.
  • Reexamining “old civil cases that have already been settled”, and “selectively” filing criminal charges of technology theft.

Huawei didn’t provide any specific examples for any of the allegations. The FBI was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Business Insider.

Huawei is already facing intellectual theft charges in the US. In January the Justice Department indicted Huawei for allegedly trying to steal a device-testing robot called “Tappy” from T-Mobile.

SEE ALSO: Huawei’s US chief security officer says he’s been called a traitor for defending the Chinese tech giant. But he says his goal is to ‘promote a safer cyberspace’

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