Huawei 'Strikes Back': Global 5G Patent Battle Might Be Getting Started

Finally, collecting patent fees can also help Huawei market the HarmonyOS system. Huawei designed the HarmonyOS system as a family of operating systems for smart devices such as smart TVs. This system has also been used as a mobile operating system. Huawei may promote it by implementing a royalty reduction policy for manufacturers using the system. Notably, the premise of this benefit is that the preferential treatment will not constitute any legal and ethical problem, and the system has as high a quality as other competitive systems.

Potential risk

In addition to the benefits, Huawei may also face several new risks. Firstly, royalty charges might involve Huawei in lawsuits. For example, the royalty-based company, Qualcomm, has repeatedly been accused of abusing its market position and forcing mobile phone manufacturers to pay for unnecessary patents. In February 2020, Huawei sued Wilson, the largest local telephone operator in the US, regarding patent practices, with an inconclusive ending. This lawsuit is just the tip of the iceberg that Huawei is struggling to address in terms of patent fees. More potential risks might come along with this new plan.  

Another risk factor for charging royalties is the possible dual 5G system. Huawei has been trying to avoid splitting global technology into two systems in the long-term evolution. As long as the world is a unified technology system, Huawei can continuously and stably obtain benefits from it. For instance, Huawei can also obtain income from the US market through intellectual property income, including the US market and the markets that Huawei can't enter now. Once two technology systems emerge in the future, there will be no profit potential from the non-Chinese technology system market. Qualcomm in the 3G era is an example.

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