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Motorola Solutions Files Suit Against Hytera Communications Over Alleged Theft of DMR Technology

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by K6KEN, Mar 15, 2017.

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  1. K6KEN

    K6KEN Ham Member QRZ Page

    SOURCE: IWCE's Urgent Communications Newsletter - March 15, 2017

    Editor's Note: This article was updated at 11:25 a.m. EST on March 15 with a statement from Hytera Communications.

    Motorola Solutions today filed lawsuits alleging that Hytera Communications' digital mobile radio (DMR) equipment and systems that leverage Motorola Solutions patents and trade secrets that were taken from the radio giant by three engineers who left the company to join Hytera Communications.

    While some intellectual-property lawsuits involve disputes over the creation and use of technology developed along parallel tracks by different entities, the circumstances of Hytera Communications’ use of Motorola Solutions’ patents and trade secrets are much more “brazen,” according to Mark Hacker, Motorola Solutions’ general counsel and chief administrative officer.

    “This isn’t coincidental infringement of a patent,” Hacker said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “This is part of a deliberate scheme to steal and copy our technology.”

    According to the patent lawsuit, Hytera Communications infringed on several features associated with Motorola Solutions’ popular MOTOTRBO line of digital radios:

    • Voice-Operated Transmission (VOX);
    • Telemetry;
    • Dynamic Mixed Mode (DMM) priority scan;
    • Location-based services;
    • GPS Revert Channel;
    • Digital Telephone Patch (DTP); and
    • Digital emergency (“Man Down”) and “Lone Worker” capabilities.
    These technology features were implemented in Hytera Communications’ DMR products, which were developed “at a very quick pace” after Hytera—a company that previously manufactured only analog radios that “were quickly becoming ‘obsolete’”—began hiring engineers who had resigned from Motorola Solutions in 2008, according to the lawsuit. At the heart of Hytera’s digital technology was improperly obtained intellectual property that was developed and funded by Motorola Solutions, the litigation alleges.

    “Motorola has been building its radios and its reputation for almost a century, and Hytera tried to hijack both in just a few months—and continues to do so to this day,” according to the lawsuit.

    A day after the filing, Hytera Communications provided the following statement about the legal action taken by Motorola Solutions:

    "We have read Motorola Solutions' news release published on its company website and are aware of its complaint," according to the Hytera statement. "Hytera's policy is not to comment on cases that are presently before a court.

    "As a global company headquarterd in Shenzhen, China, Hytera upholds a high ethical standard for business and strictly complies with the laws and regulations in the markets where we operate. 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 our customers and a respectful global corporate citizen."

    Hytera Communications acquired the intellectual property after hiring three engineers that had resigned from Motorola Solutions, according to the lawsuit. All three of the engineers cited in the case—Samuel Chia, Y.T Kok and G.S. Kok—continue to work at Hytera Communication in senior-level positions today, according to a Motorola Solutions press release.

    “In the period leading up to their resignations, through a series of serious misrepresentations and carefully planned illegal acts, these engineers maliciously accessed, downloaded and transferred more than 7,000 highly confidential files related to Motorola Solutions’ technologies, including confidential technical, marketing, sales, legal and other types of trade secret materials,” according to the Motorola Solutions press release.

    “Subsequently, Hytera began illegally manufacturing and marketing a line of products and technologies containing technologies invented, designed, developed and in some cases patented by Motorola Solutions.”

    Each of the three engineers in question had access to details of the technology’s development and supporting documentation while at Motorola Solutions, Hacker said. Upon leaving Motorola Solutions, all signed a “Resignation NDA (non-disclosure agreement)” in which they “agreed to protect and treat as confidential all Motorola’s trade secrets and/or confidential information,” according to the lawsuit.

    None of the resigning Motorola Solutions employees disclosed that they would be working for Hytera Communications or that they had conducted unauthorized downloading of Motorola Solutions intellectual property during the weeks prior to their departures, according to the lawsuit.

    “Since its employees acquired these documents, Hytera has perfected the misappropriation by incorporating Motorola’s digital two-way radio technologies and related features into its products that are currently sold in the United States, which are in whole or part derived from Motorola’s trade secrets,” the lawsuit states.

    “For example, Hytera implemented Motorola’s digital two-way radio features as implemented in Motorola’s proprietary MotoTRBO products, often using the exact same feature names. 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.”

    If the federal court rules in favor of Motorola Solutions, the company is seeking a declaration that Hytera Communications “has no rights or privileges to use Motorola’s trade secrets” and monetary damages that would include “Motorola’s lost revenues and profits” associated with Hytera Communications’ actions, according to the lawsuits.
    IX1FIT likes this.
  2. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    We should be...surprised?

    Hytera should have just denied it, if the allegations were false, IMO.

    PRC needs to get its act together. The wholesale pillage of American innovation has to be reversed.
    KA2FIR, WB5THT, KF4ZKU and 1 other person like this.
  3. WF9Q

    WF9Q Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't see that happening my lifetime......
    KF4ZKU likes this.
  4. NA4RA

    NA4RA Ham Member QRZ Page

    A Chinese company stealing American technology...Nothing new here..This been happening for decades. Reverse engineering, stealing company copyrighted trade secrets and it goes on.. It should be "What technology haven't been stolen by China?"
    Wish Motorola good luck on this one.
    NK2U, WB5THT, KF4ZKU and 3 others like this.
  5. K8MHZ

    K8MHZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    They poached them from Chicago and they ended up in China?

    Sunny side up, it sounds like!

  6. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    So where are all those threads we have been reading for the last few weeks, talking about how wonderful it is that US hams now have access to "inexpensive digital VHF/UHF gear?" There have been some very pro-Hytera threads and posts specifically.
  7. K0EED

    K0EED XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I too wish Motorola all the best in this lawsuit. Chinese companies have been doing this for so long. It's why I won't purchase their garbage. But notoriously cheap hams will buy up all the cheap gear made in china as fast as they can unload it off the transports in the US. Sad.
    KA2FIR, NK2U, KF4ZKU and 4 others like this.
  8. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I wonder if Motorola was manufacturing their radios in China and the accused were working at the China facility, or whether they were working in the US and went home.
    K0CBA and KF4ZKU like this.
  9. K1SZO

    K1SZO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    The theft of technology goes both ways. It's not just other countries stealing from the United States and it would be foolish and naive to believe otherwise. Hell, DMR was developed and ratified by the ETSI which is definitively not American. It's amusing though how these types of lawsuits come out of open technologies., but as a career Linux engineer and Open Source supporter, I've seen it time and time again.
    NR5K, W4DXL, AG5DB and 1 other person like this.
  10. N1WT

    N1WT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am not going to defend the theft of intellectual property (if that indeed happened which is subject to due process) but Motorola doesn't
    exactly wear a halo either. They are notoriously litigious and bully everyone including their dealers and customers. They filed a suit when Harris won
    a state contract in NY when their bid was twice as high as Harris's. They regularly sell customers on features of their DMR and P25 equipment and neglect to inform them that they are proprietary features not part of the standard as the customer might expect. Of course there is also this thing about a patent on VOX. You can buy a $19 FRS radio with VOX at Walmart.

    I am all for the flag waving but before I align myself with a sketchy plaintiff like Motorola I would like to see ALL of the facts.
    Motorola has not been the US company making radios in Florida for a long long time. They are a marketing company that sells Chinese products.
    NR5K, W4DXL, W7DAZ and 8 others like this.

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