The Chinese company describes the accusations as ‘groundless'

Chinese telecom giant Huawei, under the scanner in India for security reasons, has been accused by American mobile phone company Motorola of stealing trade secrets.

The American firm on Friday filed a lawsuit against the Chinese company, charging that it had obtained confidential information from its former employees. Huawei on Thursday denied the claims, describing the accusations as “groundless.” The claims come amid an already-raging debate over Chinese telecom companies' overseas ventures.

The Indian government has restricted imports of equipment from Chinese telecom firms, including Huawei, citing the possibility of embedded malware in equipment. Huawei and other Chinese firms have, however, strongly refuted the claims, saying there has been no evidence, so far, of any problems with their equipment.

Motorola has now accused Huawei, which has been trying to enter the U.S. market, of stealing trade secrets, and then selling equipment built using confidential information. Motorola had earlier accused another U.S.-based firm, Lemko, of stealing information from its former employees. But in a lawsuit filed on Friday, the American company for the first time named Huawei in the case, accusing Lemko of passing information on to the Chinese firm.

Huawei, has, however, denied any relationship with Lemko, besides supplying some equipment. “Huawei will vigorously defend itself against baseless allegations,” the firm said in a statement, Agence France-Presse reported.

“As an active and significant player in global standards-setting bodies, Huawei has great respect for the rights of intellectual property holders, and will with equal vigour protect its own hard-earned intellectual property rights.”

Media reports in the U.S. said Motorola had earlier refrained from naming Huawei in the case because it considered selling its networks business to the Chinese firm. But after the deal went to Siemens, it changed tack. Huawei has earlier faced charges from another U.S. technology company, Cisco, for stealing software.

The charges were, however, dropped when Huawei reportedly altered some of its products.

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