Patent war?

Back in 2006 when Premier Wei unveiled the contour of the drive towards indigenous innovation – with the aim to turn China into  a technology powerhouse by 2020 and a global leader by 2050 – some observers warned that it could lead to a massive theft of technology. To the least it signalled that China had switched from defense to offense when it comes to industrial policy.

While the jury is still out as to technological theft one can not fail to notice the flurry of court battles piting against each other the up-and-coming Chinese telecommunications national champions (Huawei and ZTE) and the “defenders”.

In the latter camp Motorola just settled a case brought by Huawei on ground that the US firm was improperly using its technology. Ericsson got a similar treatment from ZTE with a patent-infringment lawsuit, somewhat of a tit-for-tat as the Stockholm-based firm is suing ZTE’s subsidiaries in Britain, Germany and Italy on ground of … patent-infringment – the feud will probably put an end to the strategic alliance that both companies formed back in 2005.

One thing is sure, when it comes to technological leadership Chinese companies are no longer shy in taking matters to court.