Canada warned over patent drain to Huawei

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Monday 28 May 2018 | 12:56 CET | News

Canada should look into the relationships between Huawei and Canadian universities to make sure the country is getting enough back and not just giving away 5G research, the Globe and Mail reported, citing a warning from Andy Ellis, a former assistant general of operations at the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service. Ellis is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to determine the security threat and economic cost of transferring Canadian intellectual property to Huawei.Huawei has committed about CAD 50 million to 13 Canadian universities, including the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo, McGill University and the University of British Columbia, to fund the development of 5G mobile technology. The company has used this research to file hundreds of patents. Canadian university professors have transferred full rights to their inventions to Huawei in 40 instances.

Former top Canadian intelligence officials have warned that Huawei could use 5G technology for espionage, a charge denied by Huawei spokesman Scott Bradley.

Vivek Goel, VP of research and innovation with University of Toronto, whose institution retains IP rights to research commercialized by Huawei under its deal with the firm, said concerns about Huawei overly benefiting from Canadian research are overblown. “The IP that gets generated is just a small part really of what the big benefit for Canada is,” he said, adding that Canada also gets “resources to train people in very advanced fields” through relationships with foreign industry partners. Goel also warned that too many constraints would make it less interesting for investors to put their money into Canada.

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