Huawei is adopting more-aggressive legal tactics to go after its opponents in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Tech

Huawei Unveils Latest Legal Challenge Against the U.S.

par Featured articles licensed from The Wall Street Journal | le 6 December 2019


‘FCC should not shut down joint efforts to connect rural communities in the U.S.,’ Huawei’s chief legal officer says

By

Dan Strumpf – The Wall Street Journal

SHENZHEN, China—Huawei Technologies Co. filed a fresh legal challenge against the U.S., seeking to block a Federal Communications Commission decision last month that further restricts the Chinese telecom giant’s ability to operate in the U.S.

Huawei said the FCC order, blocking rural U.S. wireless carriers from using an $8.5 billion-a-year subsidy fund to buy equipment from Huawei, violates its due-process rights and unfairly labels the company as a national security threat.

“The FCC should not shut down joint efforts to connect rural communities in the U.S.,” said Song Liuping, Huawei’s chief legal officer, in a statement.

Huawei, which unveiled the lawsuit at a news conference at its headquarters in Shenzhen, said it is seeking a ruling that calls the Nov. 22 decision by the FCC unlawful by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Details of Huawei’s new legal challenge were first reported by The Wall Street Journal last week.

An FCC spokesman had no comment on the latest Huawei lawsuit.

The petition is the latest example of a new strategy by Huawei to more aggressively use legal means to go after opponents in the U.S. and elsewhere, while also pursuing a broad public relations campaign. In March, Huawei filed a lawsuit in Texas federal court challenging a law blocking sales of its products to the federal government and contractors. The company also has sought court actions against critics in Europe, including a French researcher and a newspaper in Lithuania.

The lawsuit comes as Huawei faced a separate legal setback earlier this week. A federal judge in Brooklyn that is overseeing a criminal case against Huawei kicked one of the company’s top lawyers, former deputy attorney general Jim Cole, off the case, agreeing with U.S. prosecutors that Mr. Cole’s representation of Huawei presented a conflict of interest given his prior government position.

Prosecutors had argued that Mr. Cole had supervised and participated in a related investigation when he was at the Justice Department between 2010 and 2015. Mr. Cole had said he had no memory of any facts that would warrant his disqualification from the Huawei case. A redacted version of the judge’s opinion is expected to be filed next month, after the government removes classified information in it, according to the court docket.

Huawei is the world’s largest maker of telecom equipment, a major vendor of 5G technology and the No. 2 seller of smartphones. However, its products are virtually off limits in the U.S., which considers Huawei a national security threat.

Huawei’s few telecom customers in the U.S. include an array of small wireless carriers that mainly serve rural areas. These providers have praised Huawei’s goods, but the FCC in its Nov. 22 order said Huawei and its main Chinese rival “have close ties to the Chinese government and military apparatus and are subject to Chinese laws requiring them to assist with espionage.”

Huawei has long said that it is owned by its employees, operates independently of Beijing and would never spy on behalf of any government.

Under the Trump administration, the U.S. has dramatically stepped up its campaign against Huawei, which is one of China’s best-known tech companies. Last year, it brought in more than $100 billion in revenue. In addition to tightening restrictions on Huawei’s ability to operate in the U.S., the Trump administration has been lobbying its allies to block Huawei from building their next-generation 5G networks.

It has also added Huawei to a Commerce Department blacklist preventing suppliers from selling it U.S.-sourced technology without a license. The department has recently started to grant some waivers to American companies so they can resume exports. Beijing views relief for Huawei as a condition for any trade deal with Washington.