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The backstory: In the world of global tech, tensions have been brewing between China and the US. The US has been working to restrict China's access to advanced technology, particularly cutting-edge semiconductor chips. One major result has been sanctions against two major Chinese tech players, Huawei and SMIC, over concerns about the potential military applications of chip tech. In 2019, Huawei, a major telecom giant, was blacklisted by the US, causing damage to its global smartphone business. But with support from the Chinese government, Huawei managed to bounce back and became a key player in China's quest for tech independence.
Now, in 2023, Huawei is making big moves in the patent world. A recent GlobalData report revealed that it secured over 4,000 patents between January and July, covering essential areas like telecommunications, operating systems and artificial intelligence (AI). What's unique is that Huawei isn't just collecting patents; it’s also struck licensing deals with big names like Samsung and Ericsson.
Things took a turn in March when Huawei filed a lawsuit against Xiaomi, accusing it of patent violations in wireless communication, smartphone photography and screen lock technologies.
More recently: August was quite a month for Huawei. It achieved its third consecutive quarter of revenue growth, partially due to its expansion into cloud computing and strong smartphone sales.
In terms of smartphones, Huawei launched a trio of flagship models: the Mate 60, Mate 60 Pro and the foldable Mate X5. Notably, the Mate 60's competitive starting price put it head-to-head with Apple's iPhone 14 in the Chinese market. Meanwhile, Apple revealed its iPhone 15 series earlier this week. Huawei also announced a media event for September 25 to discuss new products.
The development: Huawei and Xiaomi just signed a global patent cross-licensing agreement. This deal, announced on Wednesday, brings an end to the patent dispute and covers communication technologies, including the much-talked-about 5G.
Alan Fan, Head of Huawei's Intellectual Property Department, expressed excitement about the agreement, seeing it as a recognition of Huawei's contributions to communication standards and a potential boost to investments in future mobile tech. On the Xiaomi side, Ran Xu, General Manager of Corporate Business Development and IP Strategy, echoed the sentiment, emphasizing mutual respect for each other's intellectual property.
"We are delighted to reach this licensing deal with Xiaomi," said Alan Fan, Head of Huawei's Intellectual Property Department, in a statement. "This licensing agreement once again reflects the industry's recognition of Huawei's contributions to communications standards and will help us enhance our investment in researching future mobile communications technologies."
"We are glad to reach a patent cross-licensing agreement with Huawei. This shows that both parties recognize and respect each other's intellectual property. As part of our commitment to our values around IP, Xiaomi will, as always, respect IP, seek long-term and sustainable IP partnerships for shared success, drive technology inclusion with IP and allow more people to benefit from technology," said Ran Xu, Xiaomi's General Manager of Corporate Business Development and IP Strategy, in a statement.
"In the first half of 2023, our ICT infrastructure business remained solid, and our consumer business achieved growth," said Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's rotating chairperson, in August.