A new lawsuit filed against Huawei-owned Futurewei Technologies with the Santa Clara County Superior Court alleges the San Francisco-based company infiltrated the Facebook-hosted Telecom Infra Project Summit in 2016 and stole trade secrets upon receiving instructions to do so from the Chinese tech giant. Former Futurewei employee Jesse Hong claims two of his colleagues were instructed to register for the private summit on behalf of a fake U.S. company, gather confidential information from Facebook's HQ campus in Menlo Park, and send such improperly obtained data to China. Mr. Hong claims Huawei resorted to the move after Facebook denied its request to attend the gathering.
The plaintiff alleges he refused to participate in the scheme but Futurewei manager Sean Chen and another official identified only as "Sam" agreed to it. The latter is also said to have practiced consulting work in the stateside technology industry with the goal of gathering confidential information about product plans of Huawei rivals, which was also the goal of the supposed 2016 infiltration, as per the same lawsuit. Mr. Hong claims he saw the two colleagues being in possession of confidential information from the firm's competitors, adding that he was fired after raising questions about such practices. Neither Huawei nor Facebook responded to the lawsuit in any capacity so far, whereas Mr. Hong himself is seeking $105 million in damages from the former's subsidiary.
Huawei's long history of issues in the U.S. also involves other trade secret theft allegations, including those raised by T-Mobile, with the third-largest wireless carrier in the country winning a lawsuit against Huawei after accusing it of stealing designs for its customer experience testing robot "Tappy" in mid-2017. American regulators and lawmakers repeatedly described Huawei as a national security threat due to its close ties to Beijing but the company remains adamant those concerns are baseless, having repeatedly argued it's a privately owned entity that isn't controlled by the Chinese government.