The indictment alleges that when the Texas litigation started, Futurewei and Huawei claimed to have already removed misappropriated code from products, and recalled routers containing that code. However, the firms had erased the memory drives of the recalled routers and sent them to China before they could be accessed, “thus destroying evidence of Huawei and Futurewei’s illicit conduct,” the indictment claims. “Also, in an effort to destroy evidence, Futurewei attempted to remotely access Huawei routers that had already been sold in the United States and erase the misappropriated source code contained therein,” the indictment alleges, without saying whether the government believes the attempted erasure was successful.
The indictment does not make clear how U.S. prosecutors believe Futurewei and Huawei obtained the copyrighted code, but it claims the two companies had “hired or attempted to hire Company 1 employees and directed these employees to misappropriate Company 1 source code….” The two companies also engaged in “flagrant plagiarism” of Cisco’s user manuals for routers, the suit alleged. While the allegations of stolen Cisco secrets concern routers sold in the U.S. in 2002, the indictment charges Huawei, Futurewei and two other Huawei subsidiaries with running a scheme from 2000 to the present “to operate and grow the worldwide business of Huawei and its parents, global affiliates and subsidiaries through the deliberate and repeated misappropriation of intellectual property of companies headquartered or with offices in the United States.”