Manufacturing News

Huawei Accused by US Tech Firm

Forty-five worldwide consumer electronics manufacturers may be faced with an anti-infringement storm from the United States. China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and some of the world's leading Asian companies including Olympus, Panasonic, Toshiba, Sanyo, JVC and Samsung were on the list, reported China Business News on Monday.

According to the report, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) announced that 45 companies will face a "Section 337 investigation" to determine whether patent violations exist in the production process of electronic devices with retractable USB connectors.

Huawei has not commented on the issue, the report said. It is believed that Huawei's wireless modem, one of its terminal products, is involved in the case. In 2011, Huawei's terminal products saw a total shipment of 150 million units and 44.62 billion yuan ($7.07 billion) in sales income.

Statistics from the US Department of Commerce show that over the past decade, the number of "Section 337 investigations" accepted by the ITC is rapidly increasing. In 2010, the number of cases soared to fifty-six, which is two times that of 2009. The numbers of cases involving Chinese companies have also shown an increasing trend and achieved the highest nineteen in 2010.

"Section 337 investigation" refers to the United States pursuant to section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930. It involves conducting an investigation on the foreign enterprises suspected of infringing intellectual property rights of US companies, and may implement an exclusion order, injunction and other measures to restrict the import of the infringement products into the US market.

Compared with conventional trade barriers such as anti-dumping, "Section 337 investigation" is even harsher. If the suspect products are sentenced to an "exclusion order", similar products will never be able to enter the US market.

The announcement noted that the cause of the investigation is due to a company called Anu IP, LLC located in Texas, who complain to the ITC on April 18 this year. The company accused the products of violating patents in imports and the internal sales market.

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