New Patent Dispute Sees US Hardware Seized By China Customs

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A new patent dispute saw a set of equipment from one American firm seized by Chinese customs over suspicions that it infringed on certain intellectual property holdings of Shanghai-based Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment, as per local media reports. The value of the seized hardware amounts to some $5.36 million, with the name of the allegedly infringing entity in question remaining unknown. The goods were confiscated at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport after a tip from early 2018 when Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment is said to have learned that the potentially infringing equipment will be landing in China this past Friday.

The dispute is now understood to have been settled between the two parties that offered cross-licensing agreements to each other. Last year, China paid approximately $28.6 billion in fees related to intellectual property rights, according to its State Intellectual Property Office head Shen Changyu. Trade-related tensions between the United States and China are presently on the rise due to new tariffs and numerous other issues, including Washington's recent moves against Huawei and ZTE. Beijing is now understood to be pushing for more semiconductor investments in order to decrease its reliance on foreign imports and lower its licensing expenses. Potential patent disputes are also what's keeping Xiaomi from entering the U.S. on a significant scale, many industry watchers believe.

ZTE was more successful in establishing stateside operations but its overseas business may now be facing extinction due to the Commerce Department's decision to ban it from purchasing any American hardware and software over its violation of a 2017 settlement with the federal government that saw it plead guilty to a conspiracy to violate trade sanctions imposed on Iran. The currently uncertain state of affairs has no visible end in sight, with neither U.S. nor China being willing to make major concessions that would lower the existing tensions and allow their respective tech giants to resume normal operations.

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