All disruptive entrants into markets that were pioneered abroad — from Ford and Edison to Carnegie and Morgan in the U.S. — incur charges of theft for emulating established incumbents. All major business competitors, necessarily imitating one another and using common components under industry standards, provoke tensions over intellectual property. In Huawei’s case, the charges of theft mostly reflect rivals’ shock at Huawei’s success in bursting into a market shaped by standards and inventions from the United States, made by such companies as Cisco, Bell Labs, Qualcomm, and 3Com. In its imitative thrust, Huawei certainly was aggressive, like “fierce wolves,” as its own leaders have acknowledged, and it has paid fines and suffered penalties.
One would never know it reading American journals, but more than 15 years ago the claims of stolen IP were fully ventilated and litigated. It was an episode that rivals should study today before they disparage Huawei’s current constitutional challenge to the U.S. ban of Huawei equipment in U.S. networks.
“It’s as if Navarro were just throwing at his bête noire, the trade deficit, a near-random sequence of words reminiscent of postmodern talk” – so writes Pierre Lemieux in response to Peter Navarro’s most-recent gusher of goofy economics in the Wall Street Journal.