Chinese tech company Huawei, one the world's leading providers of telecom equipment, has been consistently accused of industrial espionage and technology theft by the US government, as the latter added the former to a blacklist in 2019 amid a trade war between Beijing and Washington.
California-based software company Business Efficiency Solutions LLC (BES) filed a lawsuit against Huawei on Wednesday, claiming that the Chinese tech giant stole classified data after the two companies worked together on a joint project for the Pakistani government.
Huawei has been accused of developing so-called 'backdoor' software as a means of accessing confidential information the company claims is "important to Pakistan's national security."
The “Safe City” project was launched by the Pakistan in 2015 to renovate its police and security agencies and equip them with innovative technology, and Huawei was the general contractor. BES was invited as an exclusive subcontractor as it “had the capability, expertise, and knowledge that Huawei lacked to meet the technical and software requirements for the project.”
According to the legal complaint, Huawei gained possession of BES’ “most commercially valuable trade secrets,” specifically “proprietary, trade secret ‘low-level designs’ (‘LLDs’),” and afterward began “secretly procuring certain portions of BES’s software systems from other sources – including from vendors BES identified to Huawei.”
“After obtaining possession and access to BES’s trade secrets under the guise of contract, beginning in the fall of 2018, Huawei pursued contracts to develop other Safe City projects in Pakistan and around the world on its own – in violation of its agreement with BES and the limited license to BES’s technology provided therein,” the suit reads.
The plaintiff also noted that there have been numerous additional violations of intellectual property laws by Huawei.
The US previously accused Huawei of collaborating with the Chinese government in military and intelligence data gathering, as well as gaining access to personal user data in the systems it sells and leases worldwide.
Since May 2019, Huawei has been on a US blacklist and was prevented from accessing US production chains, technologies and software. Washington’s initiative to persuade other countries to avoid the use of Huawei 5G technology and equipment, prompted it to offer different countries its own infrastructure and tools.
The Chinese company claims the accusations are baseless, politically motivated and in violation of the so-called principles of market competition.