The criminal case reportedly stemmed from a civil case filed in Seattle District Court in 2014, in which T-Mobile said Huawei stole its proprietary technology after Huawei "abused its relationship as a phone handset supplier for T-Mobile to obtain access to T-Mobile's robot and, in violation of several confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements, copied the robot's specifications and stole parts, software and other trade secrets."
T-Mobile claimed in the 2014 complaint that Huawei employees stole the robotic trade secrets at the direction of Huawei's corporate research and development team based in China. Huawei fought the claims, saying the robot was and the two sides sparred until a federal jury awarded T-Mobile $4.8 million in the case in 2017.
The case comes on the heels of controversy over the Dec. 1 arrest of the company's CFO, Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver. Meng is the daughter of the company's CEO Ren Zhengfei. On Tuesday, Ren praised President Trump and his efforts at forging a new trade deal with China, while emphasizing the negative effect "the detention of certain individuals" could have on U.S.-China relations.