A PYMNTS Company

Netgear Accuses Huawei of Racketeering in WiFi Market Battle

 |  February 1, 2024

In a legal showdown, San Jose-based computer networking firm Netgear has filed a lawsuit against Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies in a California court, alleging “racketeering” and an orchestrated attempt to dominate the global WiFi Standard-Essential Patents (SEPs) market.

Netgear contends that Huawei’s patents are crucial to its products and must be licensed under fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND), a principle the Chinese company allegedly refuses to adhere to. The lawsuit, filed on January 30 in a 115-page complaint, claims that Huawei engaged in deceptive practices, abusive licensing, anti-competitive behavior, and a pattern of racketeering activity, violating federal and state laws.

The networking firm accuses Huawei of providing false Letters of Assurance to the IEEE Standards Association, promising to license its SEPs on FRAND terms while allegedly having no intention to honor these commitments. Netgear further alleges that Huawei, after deceiving IEEE, exploited its unlawfully acquired power against Netgear by refusing to license its patents fairly, demanding excessive and discriminatory royalties, and engaging in unfair business practices.

Related: Netgear Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against Huawei Alleging Patent Misuse

Netgear claims that Huawei’s actions are part of a larger scheme to dominate global markets. The Chinese company is accused of knowingly participating in a pattern of racketeering activity, attempting to extract supracompetitive rates, and engaging in fraudulent and anticompetitive actions. The complaint also suggests that Huawei intensified its activities against US companies after being banned in the country, characterizing them as retaliatory.

In its legal pursuit, Netgear is seeking relief on multiple fronts. This includes treble damages, the entitlement to an implied license to Huawei patents under its Qualcomm license related to Netgear’s products with Qualcomm modem chipsets, and a decree that the Qualcomm license exhausts any purported patent rights held by Huawei, at least concerning Netgear’s products with Qualcomm modem chipsets.

The legal battle has also extended to Germany, where Netgear is seeking an injunction in Dusseldorf before performing any of its IEEE obligations. Additionally, the networking firm is pursuing an injunction from the Unified Patent Court.

Source: World I Preview