What just happened? Huawei has been accused by a Portuguese multimedia producer of infringing on his intellectual property, and may be the subject of an investigation by the Department of Justice. The company issued a public statement in response to the allegations and accused the US of exercising its political and diplomatic influence and using law enforcement to disrupt its global operations.
This week Huawei publicly accused the US of "using every tool at its disposal" to interfere with its business, describing an elaborate campaign and pointing fingers at Washington for intimidating its employees and orchestrating multiple attempts to penetrate its networks.
The Chinese giant explained that American law enforcement agencies have been instructed by the Trump administration to search, detain, and arrest its employees and several business associates. FBI agents were allegedly sent to the homes of its workers to pressure them into giving away information on their employer. The company also alleges that US officials have used every avenue possible to disrupt its global operations by denying visas, detaining shipments and reopening civil lawsuits as criminal cases where undercover agents have pretended to be Huawei employees to testify against it in court.
Huawei didn't come forward with any evidence to back up its claims, and the Justice Department said it only uses lawful methods when conducting its investigations. The department added that Chinese involvement is a recurring them in most of the economic espionage cases that go through its lens.
The phone maker's statement comes just days after the Wall Street Journal reported the Justice Department was conducting an investigation on Huawei for possible theft of US trade secrets. The probe reportedly found that the Chinese giant stole patented smartphone camera technology from Rui Pedro Oliveira.
Huawei denies these claims and explains that Oliveira wanted to extort a large sum of money from the company after the two parties met in 2014 to discuss a potential partnership. The company supposedly declined the offer, and was later threatened by Oliveira that he would use his media and political channels to coerce it into paying for what he alleged was an infringement on his patents.
The company argues that "Mr. Oliveira is taking advantage of the current geopolitical situation" and that the US is using its political and diplomatic might to convince other governments to ban Huawei equipment without offering any evidence for its national security concerns.
In 2018, the Commerce Department added the Chinese telecom giant to a blacklist which restricted its ability to deal with American companies. Then earlier this year it looked like Huawei might finally get some reprieve, but last month the Trump administration delayed a decision to grant temporary licenses as a result of the escalating trade war between China and the United States.