Huawei, ZTE cited for patent infringement in the US

Huawei, ZTE cited for patent infringement in the US

Huawei's booth at the Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies in Japan last October. (File photo/Xinhua)

The United States has launched a "section 337 investigation" against Chinese telecom equipment makers Huawei and ZTE for patent infringement related to electronic products such as smartphones.

Such investigations, conducted by the US International Trade Commission, often involve claims regarding intellectual property rights including allegations of patent infringement and trademark infringement by imported goods.

The United States reportedly launches more than 10 section 337 investigations against Chinese companies each year.

Other consumer electronics goods made by the two companies such as portable hard disks and personal computers will also be investigated.

Four US companies jointly appealed to US authorities accusing the two Chinese companies of patent infringement in January. The US companies called for a ban on the import of their products.

Xie Mingdun, a professor at Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, said claiming infringement of intellectual property rights has become a common way for the US government to ban imports of Chinese products. The US authorities have often adopted anti-dumping and countervailing tariffs to fight the effects of mass-produced low-cost Chinese products in the past, Xie said.

The US government has also enlarged the scope for section 337 investigations over the past few years, said Xie, adding that China will face more non-trade barriers as the country exports more and more hi-tech products in the future.