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Motorola Solutions files IP infringement lawsuits against Hytera

Date: 15th March 2017
Topic: News
Author: Sam Fenwick
Technology:
Digital PMR
Manufacturer: Hytera, Motorola Solutions
Tags: Hytera, Motorola Solutions, patents, Legal

News_AdobeStock_76147767_WavebreakmediaMicro.jpegMotorola Solutions has filed complaints in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against Hytera, alleging that Hytera’s DMR two-way radios, base stations, repeaters and dispatch systems, as well as its related commercialisation and sales activities, are infringing its patents and using “stolen Motorola Solutions trade secrets”. Hytera has said that it “…firmly believes that its business practices and operations will be fully vindicated”. 

The timing of the filing appears to have been driven by new procedures or technology that have brought fresh information to light, as the trade secret lawsuit states that: “Motorola also employs robust technical protections in its systems to detect and thwart unauthorised downloads and access to its confidential and sensitive information, and that technology has improved substantially in recent years over what was available in 2008.” 

Motorola Solutions claims that around that time, three of its ex-employees, G.S. Kok, Samuel Chia and Y.T. Kok, “surreptitiously downloaded and misappropriated more than 7,000 technical, marketing, sales, and legal documents related to Motorola’s digital radio and infrastructure products,” before being employed by Hytera. All three senior engineers are still working for Hytera and Motorola alleges that through them Hytera gained access to Motorola Solutions' trade secrets, which were then used to develop Hytera’s digital two-way radio products. 

“Critically, many of these unlawfully-downloaded documents provided Motorola’s specific technology implementations, and other highly detailed technical information relating to critical technologies at issue in this case, providing an unlawfully obtained roadmap to Hytera about how to implement key features developed by Motorola over the course of many years,” states the trade secret lawsuit. 

It maintains that Hytera’s digital two-way radios have features used in Motorola Solutions’ proprietary MotoTRBO products, “often using the exact feature names". The lawsuit goes on to say that: "For instance, Hytera has incorporated the VOX, Telemetry, Lone Worker, Man Down, Mixed Mode Scanning, Phone Feature, and GPS Revert Channel features, that are in whole or part derived from and/or comprise Motorola’s trade secrets.” 

Motorola Solutions is seeking a number of remedies including an “amount to be determined at trial, including without limitation, Motorola’s lost revenues and profits,” as well as injunctions to prevent Hytera and its affiliates “unfairly competing with Motorola by using Motorola’s trade secrets”. 

Motorola Solutions has a long and distinguished track record of developing industry-leading products and technologies, reflecting our significant investments in research and our commitment to innovation,” said Mark Hacker, Motorola Solutions’ general counsel and chief administrative officer, said. “We are proud to have built an extensive portfolio of more than 4,000 patents, including the patents at issue in these lawsuits, which were developed by Motorola Solutions’ world-class engineers.
 
“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. Brazen copying and blatant, willful infringement of this sort create an unfair playing field and threaten the industry’s ability to innovate…” 

A spokesperson for Hytera said that the company is aware of Motorola Solutions’ complaint. They added that: “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 [it operates]. 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 [its] customers and a respectful global citizen.” 

The court-case comes at a sensitive time for Hytera, given that it is seeking regulatory approvals in Spain and Germany for its acquisition of Sepura. However, if the scuffles over intellectual property between Apple and Samsung (that began in 2012 and appear to be still ongoing) are any indicator, it would be a surprise if this matter were to be settled quickly. 

Image credit: AdobeStock/WavebreakmediaMicro


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