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An impartial ruling by a European court also might add to the winner’s appeal for potential customers by reinforcing its status as a technology creator, rather than a Chinese policy tool.

“They are making an interesting statement by filing those lawsuits not in Chinese courts but overseas, because Chinese courts are perceived to be very political, and they want this matter obviously adjudicated on the legal merits,” said Wolf, CEO of Wolf Group Asia.

Huawei and ZTE are unusual among major Chinese companies because they compete directly with each other, offering similar products in the same markets.

Authorities who want China’s potential global companies to focus their competitive energies on foreign rivals have tried to head off clashes in other industries by assigning different markets or products to individual enterprises.

In aerospace, a plan to create a homegrown jetliner to compete with Boeing Co. and Airbus Industrie was assigned to one state-owned company while a potential rival was told to develop a smaller regional jet instead.

Huawei has suffered setbacks as it tries to expand in the United States. It was forced in February to unwind its acquisition of 3Leaf Systems, a maker of cloud computing technology, after it failed to win approval from a U.S. security panel.

In a separate case, Huawei won a court order that temporarily blocked the sale of Motorola Solutions Inc.’s network business to rival Nokia-Siemens Networks. Huawei said the deal might reveal business secrets because Motorola sold Huawei equipment. Motorola settled with Huawei for an undisclosed fee.

Also this month, Ericsson said it has filed lawsuits against ZTE in Britain, Germany and Italy accusing the company of infringing patents for handset and network technology. The Swedish company asked the courts to block ZTE from selling mobile phones that contain the disputed technology and some network products.

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Huawei Technologies Ltd: http://www.huawei.com

ZTE Corp.: http://www.zte.com.cn