Much of what makes business what it is is the push and pull of competition and cooperation between different companies. The fiercest rivals can come to have common cause, and one business can come to rely upon another for its continued operation through the magic of licensing. Licensing is a necessary tool for all involved, a way for some companies to lawfully use the intellectual property needed for their products and others to earn a fair return on their creative work particularly in the case of smaller companies.
In other instances, licencing can be a cause of conflict, as in the case of Huawei and Verizon. Recent reports have indicated that Huawei is asking the U.S telecom giant to pay over $1 billion in licensing fees related to over 230 patents. The patents in question are used by many of Verizon's vendors and cover a wide range of technological aspects related to the communication and internet services provided by the company.
The dispute is part of a broader pattern of contention between Huawei and U.S. companies, a pattern which is itself a play in miniature of the growing conflict between the United States and China. Huawei recently settled a separate patent dispute with Samsung, and has seen itself blacklisted by the U. S government for its alleged part in circumventing sanctions with Iran, as well as fear that the company's devices could be exploited for the purposes of spying.
As Reuters reports, the two companies are meeting to discuss the matter and to determine if there are instances of potential infringement on the part of vendor equipment used by Verizon. As it stands, the matter seems as much a proxy war as a legitimate dispute between two competing businesses, another skirmish in a larger battle between two countries that encompasses far more than mere telecom equipment.