HONG KONG (Reuters) - Chinese smartphone maker Coolpad, part of the LeEco technology conglomerate, said six employees had been detained by authorities, accused of infringing the intellectual property rights of their former employer Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL].
The official Securities Times reported on Wednesday that the former Huawei engineers and designers had been detained for leaking company secrets to LeEco and Coolpad.
The employees’ lawyers and families say none of them took technology documents or codes from Huawei, a Coolpad unit, Yulong Computer Telecommunication Scientific (Shenzhen) Co Ltd, said in a statement.
They also have not given any such documents to Coolpad and LeEco, the statement said. The unit declined to comment beyond its statement.
It added that the workers are under investigation by the Shenzhen public securities department concerning a patent application made before they joined Coolpad’s smartphone department.
LeEco said in a post on its official Weibo account that accusations of its involvement were “pure rumor”. The conglomerate has made headlines for its financial woes although it recently received a $2.2 billion investment.
Huawei, the world’s third-largest smartphone maker behind Samsung and Apple, declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.
Officials at the Shenzhen public securities department could not be reached for comment. Both Huawei and Coolpad are headquartered in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.
Reporting by Sijia Jiang; Editing by Edwina Gibbs