Motorola Sues Hytera for Patent Infringement, Trade Secret Misappropriation
Tuesday, March 14, 2017 | Comments
Motorola Solutions filed complaints in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against Hytera Communications of Shenzhen, China, for allegedly infringing its patents and stealing trade secrets. Motorola Solutions is seeking to stop Hytera’s sales and import of the infringing products into the United States.

Specifically, the complaints assert that Hytera’s two-way radios, base stations, repeaters and dispatch systems, as well as its related commercialization and sales activities, are infringing patents owned by Motorola Solutions and using stolen Motorola Solutions trade secrets. Therefore, the alleged activity has enabled Hytera to compete unfairly by bypassing investment in innovation, a statement from the U.S.-based manufacturer said.

“We believe it is clear, and we are confident the courts will agree, that Hytera's product portfolio and marketing materials are based on Motorola Solutions’ proprietary intellectual property,” said Mark Hacker, general counsel and chief administrative officer of Motorola Solutions. “Brazen copying and blatant, willful infringement of this sort create an unfair playing field and threaten the industry’s ability to innovate. We will use every means available to vigorously defend the company’s valuable intellectual property, while continuing to drive innovation and technical excellence for the benefit of our customers around the world.”

Motorola said three former Motorola engineers assisted Hytera’s illegal behavior. Motorola said the engineers, who resigned from the company to join Hytera, had key roles in developing Hytera’s infringing products using misappropriated Motorola Solutions technologies and continue in Hytera senior-level positions.

“In the period leading up to their resignations, through a series of serious misrepresentations and carefully planned illegal acts, these engineers maliciously accessed, downloaded and transferred more than 7,000 highly confidential files related to Motorola Solutions’ technologies, including confidential technical, marketing, sales, legal and other types of trade secret materials,” a Motorola statement said.

Subsequently, Hytera began illegally manufacturing and marketing a line of products and technologies containing technologies invented, designed, developed and, in some cases, patented by Motorola Solutions, the statement said.

Motorola Solutions filed two complaints: one for patent infringement and one for trade secrets. The company lists seven patents on its website as part of the lawsuit. One of the patents relates to Motorola’s MOTOTRBO IP Site Connect, a conventional system that connects up to 15 MOTOTRBO sites. The IP Site Connect patent and a dispatch patent relate to system connectivity. Four of the patents relate to channel management and trunking, and one patent is for adaptive volume control.

The patent infringement complaint cites a Hytera Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) presentation as “evidencing a degree of wanton misappropriation rarely seen in cases like these.”

The trade secret complaint, filed by Motorola Solutions and Motorola Solutions Malaysia, said that Hytera operated as a distributor for Motorola products from the time it was founded in 1993 to 2001. It then began supplying analog products but could not keep up with the pace of innovation in digital technologies, Motorola said. Therefore, “Hytera embarked on an unlawful plot to surreptitiously take Motorola’s confidential and proprietary trade secrets, and use those trade secrets to build a competing product,” the complaint said.

“Not only did Hytera take and then copy Motorola’s technical trade secrets, it even copied the marketing, configurations, and product manuals related to the misappropriated features as well, leaving no doubt about its unlawful scheme,” the trade secret complaint said. “The Hytera employees — and by extension, Hytera itself — intentionally hid their wrongful conduct from Motorola, to ensure it would not be discovered until years later.”

"We have read Motorola Solutions’ news release published on its company website and are aware of its complaint," a Hytera statement said. "Hytera’s policy is not to comment on cases that are presently before a court.

"As a global company headquartered in Shenzhen, China, Hytera upholds a high ethical standard for business and strictly complies with the laws and the regulations in the markets where we operate. Hytera firmly believes that its business practices and operations will be fully vindicated. Hytera aspires to and will continue to be the trusted partner for our customers and a respectful global citizen."

Next steps from the court were unknown at press time. The Motorola documents are here.

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