Firmware Update Available for Hytera Products Affected by ITC Decision
Wednesday, December 12, 2018 | Comments
Hytera America made available a firmware update that upgrades legacy products to the capabilities of the company’s new i-Series products. The firmware update was released in response to the U.S. International Trade Commission’s (ITC) decision to implement limited exclusion orders (LEO) and cease-and-desist orders (CDO) against Hytera Communications and its Hytera America subsidiaries.

In November, the ITC released a final determination in the patent infringement lawsuit Motorola Solutions brought against Hytera and its subsidiaries. That determination affirmed an administrative law judge’s (ALJ) earlier finding that Hytera infringed multiple Motorola patents. As part of the final determination, the ITC put the LEO and CDO in place to prevent Hytera from importing, selling or distributing Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) products that infringe Motorola patents.

However, that final determination also reversed the ALJ’s earlier finding that redesigned products Hytera submitted — the new i-Series — infringed Motorola’s patents. Therefore, Hytera and its subsidiaries can import, sell and distribute those products in the U.S.

“We believe the final ruling is very positive to our customers and dealers because it takes them out of the shadow of this lawsuit and gives them a way forward,” said Steve Cragg, vice president of sales, Hytera America.

The firmware update that upgrades legacy radios to i-Series capabilities can be accessed through Hytera’s dealer portal where it makes all of its software updates available. There is no charge for the software update.

New capabilities for the i-Series include over-the-air programming (OTAP) and optimized push to talk (PTT), as well as new features that enhance coverage and channel efficiency, according to material provided by Hytera.

Once updated with the new firmware, the legacy radios will support most capabilities of the i-Series radios, Cragg said. The i-Series includes a mobile that supports full-duplex capabilities. Because that duplex operation is based on a new hardware platform, the firmware update does not provide that capability, and customers interested in that capability will need to purchase the new radio.

When the ITC requested public interest statements on the proposed sanctions prior to the final determination, Hytera and several dealers and customers asked for a repair exception that would allow Hytera to provide new components and radios for existing systems.

The ITC did not address that request in its final determination. Cragg said Hytera originally asked for that exception so it could provide clarity to its dealers and customers once the ITC released its final determination.

However, the exception is not necessary with the ITC’s approval of the i-Series because those products can slot into existing systems and keep the system functioning, Cragg said. “We’re confident that we can continue to fully service and support our customers with the i-Series.”

The i-Series products are compatible with legacy products, so a user does not need to update the system to swap in i-Series products, Cragg said. However, to use the i-Series’ new capabilities, the system’s firmware must be updated.

Interest in the i-Series has so far been strong, Cragg said. Webinars on the new product line the company held following the decision reached capacity, and additional webinars have continued to attract large numbers of attendees.

“We have more questions about the new features than on how to upgrade the radios, so I think it shows the market is generally interested,” Cragg said.

As part of the ITC’s process, the case is in a 60-day presidential review period where President Donald Trump, or a representative, can disapprove the ITC’s final determination. During that period, Hytera can continue to sell the infringing products if it posts a bond.

However, Hytera ceased sale of its legacy products following the final determination’s release and plans to sell only the new i-Series products moving forward, Cragg said.

Hytera released the i-Series products earlier this year around the rest of the world, but Hytera held off on releasing them in the U.S. while the ITC case was ongoing.

“We see no reason why we would continue to sell the legacy products when we have fully equivalent products with more and better features,” he said.

Hytera still has the option of appealing the ITC’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals. The company has not disclosed whether it plans to appeal, and Cragg declined to comment on potential next steps.

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Comments
On 3/25/19, Mike Randell said:
I'm after the latest firmware for Hytera pd505 to go into V9 software.

On 1/7/19, CTL said:
Again, this is another case of a Chinese corporation stealing a U.S. corporation's hard work and getting away from it. MHC said it best in his reply. If the U.S. and administration were to have some backbone like Germany does, this ongoing problem would go away. Personally I feel the judge in this case did not fully back Motorola in that they have the IP, and it was stolen. Case closed but unfortunately the judges don t back the current laws that are set forth in the U.S. laws. This should be an open and shut case.

On 1/2/19, Steve said:
Good luck getting the firmware. We have been bugging Hytera about it for a long time. Hytera won't let you have an account as an end user or system owner like Motorola. Anytime I need a firmware upgrade or their software updates I log in and get my stuff from Motorola website. Hytera makes you go through whoever your vendor is.

Richard, the Hytera Long Term Evolution (LTE) model you are referring to does not have band 14 in it so if you are a government agency planning on using FirstNet, you won't be able to use it.
Craig, no need to update firmware; everything still works. But you can update if you can find the firmware.

MHC is right; there is basically no punishment at all for the IP theft. All they are doing is trying to make their radios compliant with the court case. That isn't even a slap on the wrist. It is like telling a company, "Hey you got busted and now you have to make it different." Even the music industry hands down fines when people have similar beats to the music.

I don't work for either company but I do have to work with their products and systems every day for interoperability and daily use between government and nongovernment departments.



On 12/24/18, Richard Michael said:
What are some of the older legacy models involved? PD-782G, PD-682 X1P, PD-982, etc.?

What are some of the models of the newer iSeries?

Is there a list of features that will not be included with firmware updates to the older legacy products?

Differences in features between legacy models and the new iSeries models?

Does anyone have personal experience with the PDC-760?
The LTE cellular phone with built-in two-way radio with UHF DMR analog functionality looks a bit costly, approximately US$2,500, but the ability to have a rugged phone with incorporated two-way for backup in a single device looks quite attractive. Probably the only way to get the wife to carry a radio on a daily basis. LOL

Thanks.

On 12/22/18, MHC said:
I have been in the LMR industry for over 35 years have competed with both Motorola and Hytera and have never had any association with either company. This news article feels more like an advertisement for Hytera.

The ITC's ruling in my mind does not address the intellectual property (IP) theft by Hytera as no real penalty appears to have been leveled against Hytera by the courts or the ITC's ruling decision. OK so Hytera has changed their software so that their products allegedly no longer violate or infringe on the three Motorola patents identified in the ruling, allowing Hytera to continue selling its products in the U.S. In my opinion this is just another example of IP theft from a U.S. technology company by a Chinese company with no real penalty or punishment leveled for these illegal activities. If there no penalty for IP theft, I remain a little baffled why LMR dealers and end users in the U.S. would continue to support Hytera in spite of this company's historical patent violations, IP theft activities and questionable ethics integrity.
Well anyway.

On 12/19/18, Craig said:
Will existing customers with legacy units be able to continue using them if they choose NOT to update the firmware?

Editor's Note: Yes, you can continue using legacy products, but the legacy products won't have the new capabilities.



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