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Huawei pleads not guilty to trade secret theft charges

The judge in the case sets a March 2020 trial date, according to the Associated Press.

Logo of the Chinese Huawei brand seen during the Mobile

Huawei pleaded not guilty to US charges in Seattle.

Ramon Costa/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

In a Seattle federal court on Thursday, Huawei reportedly pleaded not guilty to charges of stealing trade secrets.

The embattled Chinese telecom giant entered the plea in the same court where it was hit with a 10-count indictment back in January, according to the Associated Press.

The charges include conspiracy to steal trade secrets, attempted theft of trade secrets, wire fraud and obstruction of justice. The conspiracy charge carries a potential fine of $5 million, or three times the value of the stolen trade secret (whichever is greater).

The case centers on Tappy, a T-Mobile robot built to torture test phones. A Huawei engineer allegedly tried to steal Tappy's arm, and the company allegedly encouraged such behavior, so it could use the information to improve its own robot. T-Mobile sued and a jury awarded it $4.8 million in 2017.

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US District Judge Richardo S. Martinez set a trial date of March 2020 for the case.

Huawei's also facing 13 charges in New York. These allege that the company violated economic sanctions against Iran by lying to banks.

Meng Wanzhou, the company's chief financial officer and daughter of founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Canada in December at the request of the US over alleged sanction violations. Canada is expected to announce on Friday that extradition hearings can proceed, Reuters reported.