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Huawei urges Verizon to hand over $1bn for patents

Huawei is pressing the American telecoms giant Verizon to start paying for more than 200 of its patents, in a move widely seen as an attempt to hit back at the Trump administration.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday (12 June) that the Chinese tech giant had written to Verizon to call on the firm to address a dispute centred on a number of components including core network equipment.

Later on Wednesday, Reuters reported that Huawei had requested $1bn from Verizon. While Verizon is not a client of Huawei, the Chinese firm is urging the company to hand over cash on behalf of vendors who allegedly use its patents. Verizon would then be reimbursed by its suppliers for doing so, it was claimed.

The letter was sent in February, but has come to light just weeks after the Trump administration placed Huawei on a trade blacklist. A number of Huawei’s biggest American suppliers, including Google, have been forced to stop selling goods to the company in light of the move, jeopardising the roll out of new consumer products.

A spokesperson for Verizon told NS Tech: “We have no comment regarding this specific issue because it’s a potential legal matter. However, these issues are larger than just Verizon. Given the broader geopolitical context, any issue involving Huawei has implications for our entire industry and also raise national and international concerns.” Huawei declined to comment.

In an interview with the Sunday Times ahead of his visit to the UK earlier this month, Donald Trump urged the UK to be “very careful” in its approach to Huawei given the sensitivity of its intelligence sharing partnership with US.

“We have been very, very open with your country having to do with security measures and intelligence,” he told the newspaper. “That is why we say it is very important that they study that situation very carefully.”