US startup backed by Microsoft and Dell sued by Huawei for stealing trade secrets

The plot thickens.

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CNEX, a Silicon Valley chip startup backed by Microsoft and Dell that recently made global headlines after accusing Huawei of stealing its trade secrets, is in the news again. Only this time, the tables have turned, and its founder is standing trial for stealing the Chinese telecoms giant’s trade secrets.

Michael Wexler, a lawyer representing Huawei, showed a Texas court internal documents from his client that contain the same spelling errors as in CNEX’s business proposals. Wexler also presented video deposition in which a former Huawei employee admitted to copying nearly 6,000 files from his work computer before joining CNEX, according to a Reuters report.

Ronnie Huang, a former engineering manager of Huawei and founder of the San Jose-based CNEX, had stolen Huawei’s trade secrets and poached 24 of the company’s employees, Wexler told the court.

When asked if he had copied confidential Huawei materials to his own devices, Huang said he did not recall doing so despite the material looking the same, according to Reuters.

CNEX lawyer Deron Dacus said in his opening statement that Huawei’s lawsuit against his client amounted to “bullying and intimidation.”

Huang, who has worked in Silicon Valley for nearly 30 years, set up CNEX three days after leaving Huawei in 2013.

In 2017, Huawei filed a civil lawsuit against CNEX and Huang. CNEX filed its countersuit last year alleging the Chinese company of engaging in a multiyear conspiracy to steal its solid-state drive (SSD) memory technology with the help of Xiamen University.