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Huawei Files Suit Over U.S. Equipment Ban

Huawei is taking its ongoing dispute with the U.S. government to court, filing a lawsuit today (March 6) over a law that bars government agencies from using the Chinese company's telecom products.

Credit: Shutterstock

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Huawei's lawsuit specifically concerns a law passed by Congress last year, the National Defense Authorization Act, that singles out Huawei and ZTE. Under the law, government agencies can't buy any telecommunications hardware from those two companies or do business with contractors that use gear from Huawei and ZTE.

Legislators pushed through the law citing security concerns raised by those companies' ties to the Chinese government. Backers of the ban against Huawei say the Chinese government could use the company's equipment for espionage, though the feds haven't provided evidence that backs up that claim.

Huawei says that violates the U.S. Constitution, arguing in its suit that it's been denied due process since it's had no opportunity in court to fight the government's allegations.

"The U.S. Congress has repeatedly failed to produce any evidence to support its restrictions on Huawei products. We are compelled to take this legal action as a proper and last resort," Huawei deputy chairman Guo Ping said in a statement obtained by Reuters.

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The dispute seems to largely center around the kind of telecommunications used to build out the 5G networks coming online this year. But Huawei's ongoing legal battles with the U.S. government have also impacted the Chinese tech giant's smartphone, at least here in the U.S.

Last year, Huawei arrived at CES 2018 determined to use that trade show to push for a greater presence in the U.S. phone market. Reportedly, the company was set to announce that U.S. wireless carriers were going to offer its then-new Mate 10 Pro — a big step for raising Huawei's profile since most consumers in the U.S. buy their phones through carriers. But both AT&T and Verizon backed away from Huawei, reportedly after facing pressure from the U.S. government.

Since then, Huawei has released several high-profile phones, including the Mate 20 Pro and P20 Pro, that haven't been available in the U.S. Two upcoming releases — the P30 Pro and foldable Mate X — are expected to omit the U.S. from their launch plans, too.

"This ban not only is unlawful, but also restricts Huawei from engaging in fair competition, ultimately harming U.S. consumers," Huawei's Guo said in his statement.

This won't be the only legal tussle involving Huawei in this country. In January, federal prosecutors filed fraud and trade secret theft charges against the Chinese company. Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, arrested in Canada at the behest of U.S. officials for allegedly violating economic sanctions against Iran, is currently suing the Canadian government as the U.S. looks to have her extradited.

Philip Michaels is a senior editor at Tom's Guide. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics and old movies. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.