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Huawei's Big Ask: Please like us…and then Rubio

by: Tom Hochstatter, President & Co-Founder

We do our best to keep up with patents, patent trends globally especially related to China but it's increasingly difficult as the tariffs and trade wars rage on both economically and rhetorically. There’s a blizzard of news stories each day from both countries shouting who’s been wronged the most. Of course we are hyper sensitive to the story when it involved IP no matter the source or topic.

One such story that got my attention was Huawei's demand for $1.0 Billion in royalties from Verizon earlier this month. Turns out Huawei had made that ask back in February according to sources so it wasn't "breaking news" here in June per se just that it has come to light.

We have tracked Huawei pretty closely and now that they are on a number of country-wide "black lists" they are taking to the PR trail to plead their case. On June 26th, they published a white paper entitled: "Respecting and Protecting Intellectual Property: The Foundation of Innovation: Huawei White Paper on Innovation and Intellectual Property". We encourage you all to read it and let us know if it is sincere or just corporate (party) rhetoric.

In it, they report that they have received somewhere close to $1.4 Billion in royalties but have paid over $6.0 Billion in licensing fees over the "past couple of decades" with 80% of those fees coming to U.S-based companies. We applaud their strategy vs. taking the negative tract of uber defensiveness. Only time will tell how the courts, countries and policy-makers decide, but one reaction we were truly not fans of was Senator Marco Rubio's knee-jerk reaction to hustle legislation to disallow Huawei to pursue patent damages in the U.S. 

This much maligned response by the senator was widely panned across the IP sector and many other trade officials and organizations. Were it to survive, we would most assuredly see China officials and courts immediately retaliate; so, if you have a protection or litigation strategy pending in China we hope you have alternatives to seeking your patent remedies while the titans of world trade duke it out.

On top of all this is the G-20 summit in progress as I type. Here’s the latest from the “front” (cue the Morse Code or Tele-type sound effects). I am quite confident newspapers and websites will sell advertisements…and the stories will be, and I quote: “no real progress”. China as a single party country can wait the U.S. out and won’t likely move substantively until the 2020 elections have concluded.