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US District Court Insists On ZTE Executive Court Attendance

August 12, 2015 - Written By David Steele

Three years ago, the U.S. Department of Commerce in conjunction with the FBI started an investigation into alleged unauthorized exports to Iran, in breach of U.S. sanctions, following a 2010 Reuters report that Chinese telecom manufacturer had a $120 million contract with the largest Iranian telecom company and was supplying United States computer equipment. Earlier in the week after ZTE requested “mercy,” U.S. District Judge, Lewis Kaplan, insisted that his order remained valid: he has compelled ZTE’s general counsel, Guo Xiaoming, to appear in New York in a lawsuit with Vringo. ZTE fears that Guo will be arrested when he arrives in New York and has refused to make him available for questioning.

The lawsuit between Vringo and ZTE has rumbled on across the world for some months now and follows Vringo buying a suite of patents from Nokia in 2012. After this purchase, it started filing lawsuits including the one against ZTE. Vringo’s website states that the business is “engaged in the innovation, development and monetization of intellectual property and mobile technologies,” whereas regarding the original filing, ZTE stated that whilst they are not averse to licensing technologies from other businesses, “…the company steadfastly opposes all forms of abuses of intellectual property by non-practicing entities that use the threat of litigation and injunction to support their demands for unfair licensing fees. ZTE refuses to be forced into such a deal and considers Vringo’s behaviour to be highly detrimental to its business and consumers.” It seems that ZTE are fighting a patent troll because… they are a patent troll. They have had several products banned from sale across different parts of the world and the lawsuits continue on. On ZTE refusing to bring their executive to New York, Vringo’s chief legal and intellectual property officer, David Cohen, explained this demonstrated, “ZTE’s lack of respect for intellectual property and the rule of law.”

The dialogue from U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan and ZTE is interesting reading. ZTE stated that Guo would not travel to New York no matter the U.S. District Court’s decision on their appeal: Kaplan denied their request earlier in the week explaining that not only was there no evidence of a warrant, but the court would not let itself be put into the position of helping a witness avoid (other) charges. He also explained that ZTE had earlier given alternative reasons as to why Guo would not attend and said this on the matter: “In light of ZTE’s lack of candor and its stalling and game playing… ZTE has no claim on the favorable exercise of the Court’s discretion.”