In a bid to strengthen their global technology presence amid fierce competition, China’s two largest smartphone makers, Huawei Technologies and Xiaomi (OTC:XIACF) Corp, finalized a global patent cross-licensing deal on Monday. The deal covers various next-generation technologies, including 5G, marking an end to the ongoing dispute between the two tech giants.
The disagreement concerned four Huawei patents related to 4G and cell phone technologies. Huawei previously accused Xiaomi of infringing on patent standards covering 4G LTE, smartphone photography and a screen lock security method. Xiaomi had attempted to invalidate the screen lock patent in April, but was refused by the China National Intellectual Property Administration in September.
Alan Fan, head of Huawei’s intellectual property department, said he was satisfied with the resolution. “This licensing agreement once again reflects the industry’s recognition of Huawei’s contributions to communications standards and will help us increase our investment in researching future mobile communications technologies,” Fan said on Monday.
Echoing similar sentiments, Ran Xu, Xiaomi’s general manager of business development and intellectual property strategy, said the deal showed mutual recognition and respect for each other’s intellectual property.
According to data from German intelligence company IPlytics, as of April 2022, Shenzhen-based Huawei held the largest number of 5G patents in the world.
Both companies are now poised to compete with global players like Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Samsung (KS: 005930) in the premium segment, especially in the area of 5G phones. Huawei recently launched its flagship Mate 60 Pro with 5G connectivity, leveraging a Chinese-made processor – the Kirin 9000s. The move was seen as a symbol of triumph against US restrictions on chips.
Meanwhile, Xiaomi is reportedly hiring a wide range of chipset engineers, sparking speculation about its own system-on-chip (SoC) developments. As part of what the company’s CEO Lei Jun called a “strategic technology upgrade” program, Xiaomi plans to invest a total of $13.7 billion in R&D over the next five years.
Huawei, for its part, has invested more than 977 billion yuan in R&D over the past decade, aiming to circumvent US sanctions and re-establish itself in the global smartphone market.
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