Motorola sues Huawei, Lemko for trade secret theft

NEW YORK, July 21 (Reuters) - U.S. mobile phone maker Motorola Inc MOT.N sued former employees and rival Huawei Technologies Co [HWT.UL] and Lemko Corp, alleging they conspired to steal trade secrets.

Motorola claimed that a string of emails tagged “Motorola Confidential Proprietary” showed that “Huawei and its officers knew they were receiving stolen Motorola proprietary trade secrets and confidential information without Motorola’s authorization and consent.”

In an initial suit, filed in 2008, Motorola sued five former workers for allegedly sharing trade secrets with Lemko Corp, which has a reseller agreement with Huawei.

In the amended complaint, filed on July 16 in federal court in Chicago, Motorola claimed an engineer shared information about a Motorola transceiver and other technology with Huawei’s founder.

Schaumburg, Illinois-based Motorola accused Huawei of various violations including threatened or actual misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duty and usurpation of corporate opportunity.

Since at least 2006, Motorola has required its engineers to sign a confidentiality agreement, according to the filing.

Huawei could not be reached for comment, but Bloomberg News quoted Charlie Chen, the company’s senior vice president of North American marketing, as saying the complaint is “groundless” and that Huawei has only a reseller relationship with Lemko.

Motorola spokeswoman Jennifer Erickson said, “We don’t comment on pending litigation but will continue to vigorously defend our IP (intellectual property).”

Lemko could not be reached for comment.

The case is Motorola Inc vs Lemko Corp, 08-CV-05427, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Reporting by Phil Wahba, Helen Chernikoff, Sinead Carew