Wireless telecommunications giant T-Mobile USA has accused Chinese networking and telecommunications services company Huawei Technologies of stealing its design, details and other top secrets for a cellphone-testing robot nicknamed "Tappy”.
In a lawsuit recorded Sept. 2 in federal court in Seattle, T-Mobile says employees of the world's third-largest phone supplier illegally photographed the gadget, attempted to sneak parts out of T-Mobile's Bellevue lab, and when banned from the R&D facility attempted to sneak back in.
Huawei, which is no more a T-Mobile phone supplier, used the data to assemble its own particular testing robot, and now is “using T-Mobile’s stolen robot technology to test non-T-Mobile handsets and improve return rates for handsets developed and sold to other carriers,” according to the suit.
A Huawei representative acknowledged some unseemly activities by two of their employees and said they'd been let go. Huawei rejects the more extensive claims mentioned in the suit.
T-Mobile claims that in 2007 it was the first to unveil a robot to test cellphone handsets “by performing touches on the phone the same way a human being would - only much more frequently in a shorter period of time.” By decreasing the expense of testing and enhancing the analytic data, the device has helped T-Mobile get more consistent handsets from its suppliers, the telecom giant says.
The suit offers detailed chronology of the alleged spying in 2012 and 2013, including a Huawei engineer supposedly slipping into his laptop bag one of the robot's stimulated fingertips. The organization “ultimately admitted that its employees misappropriated parts and information about T-Mobile’s robot,” says the suit.
T-Mobile doesn't detail the damages it is looking for, however asserts that in light of Huawei's industrial espionage, it needed to use "at least tens of millions of dollars" switching to different handsets. The suit additionally alleges Huawei benefitted from utilizing the robot testing technology to enhance its cellphones, “gains that are estimated to benefit Huawei by hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Huawei representative William Plummer said the organization laments the entire mishap that has transformed into a claim.
“There is some truth to the complaint in terms of two Huawei employees acting inappropriately in their zeal to better understand the customer’s quality testing requirements,” he said. “As a result, those employees were terminated for violating our business conduct guidelines. As for the rest of the complaint, Huawei respects T-Mobile’s right to file suit and we will cooperate fully with any investigation or court proceeding to protect our rights and interests.”
An announcement from the organization says its workers had been attempting to resolve errors in results between T-Mobile's testing and its own robot tester, which T-Mobile knew Huawei had built.
Huawei has been tenacious by claims of intellectual property theft, and in 2012 a U.S. congressional board prescribed phone companies abstain from doing business with it, referring to worries about its connections to the Chinese government.
T-Mobile’s full complaint can be found below.