T-Mobile Sues Huawei For Alleged Robot Arm Theft

Business / Mobile / Tech

More magenta news tonight as T-Mobile sues Huawei for allegedly stealing parts of a robot arm from its Bellevue Washington facility. These accusations are pretty serious and could bring some seriously bad PR to Huawei just as they’re trying to gain a foothold in the US mobile market. While the attempt at the US market hasn’t been too successful they have been able to expand in Europe and emerging markets. T-mobile claims that Huawei is now using the stolen parts and technology to build its own testing robots.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Seattle, T-Mobile said that employees of Huawei, previously a T-Mobile supplier, gained illicit access to a T-Mobile lab in Bellevue, stole parts of a smartphone testing robot called Tappy, and copied operating software and design details, all in violation of confidentiality agreements signed by the two companies.

In one instance, in May 2013, a Huawei employee removed an end section of Tappy’s arm and “slipped the hidden part into his laptop bag when leaving,” according to the lawsuit. The employee’s actions were caught on camera, the lawsuit said.

T-Mobile did not specify the amount of damages it was seeking for the espionage, which it claims took place in 2012 and 2013. But it said that the cost of switching away from its former supplier’s handsets would “likely reach at least tens of millions of dollars.”

A Huawei spokesman, William Plummer, acknowledged that two employees had acted inappropriately and had since been fired. “There is some truth to the complaint,” he said in a statement, adding, “Huawei respects T-Mobile’s right to file suit, and we will cooperate fully with any investigation and court proceeding to protect our rights and interests.”

  Source: NY Times

Featured image courtesy Seattle Times.

To Top