Court Orders Hytera to Keep Assets in U.K. Following Motorola Request
Tuesday, April 28, 2020 | Comments

The U.K. High Court approved a request from Motorola Solutions for a freezing order that prevents Hytera Communications from moving up to US$345.7 million in assets out of the country.

In a statement, Hytera said the court’s order does not prevent it or its U.K. subsidiaries from conducting “their business in the ordinary course and will have no impact on the ability of Hytera and its subsidiaries to continue with their highly successful businesses.”

Hytera’s statement said the court ordered it not to dispose of its assets in England and Wales but did not enter relief against any of its U.K. subsidiaries.

“Hytera has continued to invest in the U.K. market to better serve local customers,” the statement said. “Hytera has no intention of removing assets from the U.K. It will be business as usual for Hytera’ subsidiaries in the U.K., and Hytera will keep the tradition of excellence in supporting partners and serving customers in the market.”

Hytera purchased U.K.-based TETRA radio manufacturer Sepura in 2017. In a statement of its own, Sepura said that its business was not affected by the court’s order.

“The judge determined that relief should be granted against Hytera only and to a more limited extent than had been sought by Motorola,” Sepura’s statement said.

In its own statement, Motorola said that the US$345.7 million it requested the court freeze is equal to the amount of compensatory damages that a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois awarded Motorola in February.

“We are pleased that the High Court in London, England, has ruled in favor of Motorola Solutions and entered an order to freeze Hytera’s assets in the United Kingdom,” Mark Hacker, general counsel and chief administrative officer, Motorola Solutions. “Motorola Solutions will continue to hold Hytera accountable for its theft and infringement of our intellectual property in jurisdictions around the world. We are committed to protecting our technology, our customers and our industry, and to collecting the damages we are owed by Hytera for its illegal behavior.”

Motorola also asked the court to require Hytera to disclose its worldwide assets, but the court denied that request.

Motorola sued Hytera in Illinois in 2017, alleging that Hytera had stolen Motorola trade secrets and used them in Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) products that it then used to compete against Motorola. In finding that Hytera had stolen Motorola trade secrets, the jury in the case awarded Motorola the full $764.5 million in damages it requested from Hytera. Of those damages, $345.8 million were compensatory damages, while the rest were punitive damages.

Of that $345.8 million in compensatory damages, $272.1 million was awarded based on the amount of profits Hytera is alleged to have made using the Motorola trade secrets, and the remaining $73.6 million represents savings that Hytera is alleged to have seen from avoiding research and development (R&D) by using Motorola trade secrets.

Hytera filed a motion with the U.S. court requesting a new trial and if no new trial is ordered, it asked for a reduction in the damages awarded to Motorola. Hytera argued that District Judge Charles Norgle gave Motorola witnesses preferential treatment and inappropriately allowed some evidence into the previous trial.

Motorola filed a motion in the Illinois court for permanent injunction that would prevent Hytera from selling or distributing products, including Motorola’s trade secrets, anywhere in the world. Motorola argued that such an injunction is necessary to prevent Hytera from causing further damage to its business.

Final response briefs for both of those issues are due in mid-May. It is unclear when a district judge will rule on those two motions.

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