[HONG KONG] Huawei Technologies Co Ltd said on Wednesday it has filed lawsuits against Samsung Electronics Co Ltd claiming infringement of smartphone patents, in the first such case by the Chinese firm against the world's biggest mobile maker.
Huawei has filed lawsuits in the United States and China seeking compensation for what it said was unlicensed use of fourth-generation (4G) cellular communications technology, operating systems and user interface software in Samsung phones.
"We hope Samsung will ... stop infringing our patents and get the necessary licence from Huawei, and work together with Huawei to jointly drive the industry forward," Ding Jianxing, president of Huawei's Intellectual Property Rights department, said in a statement.
The lawsuit marks a reversal of roles in China where firms have often been on the receiving end of patent infringement disputes. In smartphones, makers have grown rapidly in recent years but different intellectual property laws outside of China have slowed overseas expansion.
Last year Xiaomi Inc was forced to briefly halt sales of handsets in India after a patent infringement complaint from telecom equipment maker Ericsson.
In the broader smartphone industry there has been a flurry of patent lawsuits in recent years, most notably between Samsung and US rival Apple Inc.
Apple sued Samsung in the United States in 2011, claiming the Korean maker used unlicensed technology and imitated the look of the iPhone. The pair subsequently filed a number of suits against each other in several countries.
In China, Samsung's fortunes saw it become the biggest smartphone vendor before being leapfrogged by local brands and losing market share to late-comer Apple. It is now ranked sixth by sales, trailing Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, Apple and Xiaomi.
Last year, Shenzhen-based Huawei invested 59.6 billion yuan (S$12.55 billion), or 15 per cent of annual revenue, in researching and developing technologies, products and wireless communications standards, the company said in its statement.
Huawei, which generates most of its revenue making telecommunications infrastructure, said it has been granted 50,377 patents globally as of Dec 31.