WASHINGTON (AFP) - Chinese technology titan Huawei said on Tuesday it filed suit in the United States against Samsung, claiming its South Korean rival has infringed on patents on wireless connectivity for mobile devices.
The lawsuit filed in federal court in California alleges that "Samsung and its affiliates have earned billions of dollars by selling (mobile) products that use Huawei's technology."
Huawei said it was filing a similar lawsuit in China alleging infringement of patents which allow mobile devices to connect to high-speed networks.
The suit opens up a legal battle over wireless patents for 4G networks between two of the largest global technology firms.
"Our very strong preference is to resolve disputes on licensing through negotiations," William Plummer, Huawei's US-based vice president for external affairs, told AFP.
"It is unfortunate when we have to take this route but when you are the leader in the industry in making investments to develop these technologies, protecting your investments is very important."
Plummer said Huawei had reached agreements to license its patents to many other global tech firms including Apple, Qualcomm and Ericsson.
Huawei is well behind Samsung as a maker of mobile devices, but the Chinese firm has a large networking business and its research arm last year spent over US$9 billion (S$12 billion).
"As a major holder of standard essential patents relating to cellular networks, Huawei is committed to licensing these patents on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms, but it believes that it is entitled to reasonable compensation from firms that use its technology without such a licence," said a statement released by the company.
Ding Jianxing, head of intellectual property rights for Huawei, said in the statement that "industry players should work together to push the industry forward through open, joint innovation."
"While respecting others' patents, we will also protect our own," he added.
Samsung did not immediately respond to an AFP query.
The California suit asks for unspecified damaged "to compensate Huawei for the patent infringement that has occurred, together with interest and costs," as well as royalties after the case is over, if it prevails.