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Huawei moves to stop Nokia's Motorola grab

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Huawei has applied for an injunction to stop Nokia Siemens Networks getting its hands on Motorola, claiming Moto is still stuffed with its trade secrets.

Huawei alleges that Motorola has been reselling its cellular technology for years, having given up doing its own research and development to stick labels on Huawei kit. But that puts massive amounts of Huawei intellectual property on Motorola's shelves, property that will end up in the hands of a significant competitor when Nokia Siemens Networks completes the acquisition of Motorola Solutions.

Motorola Solutions is half of the company formerly known as Motorola, the other half being Motorola Mobility. The latter maintains the (recently healthier) struggling cell phone business, while the former continues the profitable business of providing infrastructure to telecommunications companies, and is being bought by Nokia Siemens Networks (NS) for around $1.2bn.

But Huawei reckons that the transaction, which should be on the edge of completion, will put the intellectual property it shared with Motorola at risk.

In its Illinois District court filing (pdf) Huawei argues that it had no problem sharing with Motorola, whom it didn't see as a competitor, but that the transfer of staff and contracts to NSN will see a significant competitor getting access to its proprietary information, and that its contract with Motorola includes a clause that requires Huawei to approve any change in ownership.

The contested technologies are GSM and UMTS, but Huawei reckons that's a significant part of the business. "On information and belief, the GSM and UMTS businesses consist of approximately 25% of the business to be transferred under the Motorola/NSN Transaction, and account for approximately 1,500 of the approximately 7,500 personnel that would be transferred from Motorola to NSN in the Transaction," says the filing, which also details Huawei's various attempts to settle the dispute amicably.

Huawei is calling for an immediate injunction to prevent the sale going though, and damages for the private information that NSN has already received from Motorola as part of the sale negotiations. ®

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