Chinese telecom giant Huawei is suing Verizon, the second-largest telecommunications provider in the U.S., over allegations that it infringed on Huawei’s patents, setting up a showdown between the two tech powerhouses trying to lead the race to implement the next generation of wireless networks.
In a pair of lawsuits filed in the Eastern and Western districts of Texas late Wednesday night, Huawei is claiming that Verizon infringed on 12 of its U.S. patents. Huawei claims it is only taking the issue to court after months of direct negotiations with Verizon.
“Huawei negotiated with Verizon for a significant period of time, during which the company provided a detailed list of patents and factual evidence of Verizon’s use of Huawei patents,” Huawei said in a press release announcing the lawsuits. “The two parties were unable to reach an agreement on license terms.”
Verizon is pushing back aggressively against all of Huawei’s claims.
“Huawei’s lawsuit filed overnight, in the very early morning, is nothing more than a PR stunt,” Verizon spokesman Rich Young said in a statement. “This lawsuit is a sneak attack on our company and the entire tech ecosystem.”
“Huawei’s real target is not Verizon; it is any country or company that defies it,” Young said. “The action lacks merit, and we look forward to vigorously defending ourselves.”
Huawei, which holds 87,000 patents around the world and 11,000 in the U.S., said it is asking Verizon to pay for the use of them.
“Verizon’s products and services have benefited from patented technology that Huawei developed over many years of research and development,” said Huawei chief legal officer Song Liuping.
Huawei is currently embroiled in an ongoing battle with the U.S. government, which is seeking to diminish its presence in the U.S. and around the world. Bipartisan lawmakers and the Trump administration have alleged Huawei could enable the Chinese government to spy on U.S. communications networks, which Huawei has vociferously denied.