Technology: Dispute Erupts Over Radios Utility Workers Use in California Wildfires - - PressFrom - US
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Technology Dispute Erupts Over Radios Utility Workers Use in California Wildfires

13:50  06 november  2019
13:50  06 november  2019 Source:   bloomberg.com

PG&E settles with insurance companies for $11 billion in California wildfires, utility says

PG&E settles with insurance companies for $11 billion in California wildfires, utility says Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) announced it has reached an $11 billion settlement with insurance companies for claims stemming from the devastating 2017 wildfires in northern California and the 2018 Camp Fire. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); A statement from the company Friday said there's an agreement "in principle with entities representing approximately 85 percent of insurance subrogation claims to an $11 billion settlement to resolve all such claims.

Radio technology that’s critical to helping utility workers deal with California wildfires is at the heart of a trial that pits an iconic American brand against a Chinese firm The dispute is over commercially-available radios , not those used by firefighters and police. Hytera, founded in 1993, was a distributor

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(Bloomberg) -- Radio technology that’s critical to helping utility workers deal with California wildfires is at the heart of a trial that pits an iconic American brand against a Chinese firm accused of corporate espionage.

a couple of people that are on fire: Firefighters use flashlights to search the perimeter of a building at the Soda Rock Vineyards during the Kincade fire in Healdsburg, California, U.S., on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019.© Bloomberg Firefighters use flashlights to search the perimeter of a building at the Soda Rock Vineyards during the Kincade fire in Healdsburg, California, U.S., on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019.

Motorola Solutions Inc. wants a federal jury in Chicago to order its Chinese rival Hytera Communications Corp. to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in damages over what it claims was stolen know-how related to two-way radios used by utility workers, construction crews, school officials and others.

California adds new rules for planned power shutoffs under laws signed by Newsom

  California adds new rules for planned power shutoffs under laws signed by Newsom Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation Wednesday to tighten the rules for utility power shutoffs as California grapples with more frequent planned outages when potentially dangerous wildfire conditions exist.The new requirements call for investor-owned utilities to create plans to lessen the effects of outages on customers with sensitive medical needs and notify all emergency responders, healthcare providers and public safety groups within an outage area. The laws are among roughly two dozen bills related to wildfires that Newsom has signed into law this year.

The 2018 wildfire season was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire season ever recorded in California , with a total of 8,527 fires burning an area of 1,893,913 acres (766,439 ha)

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The case is the latest instance of an American company accusing a Chinese firm of stealing ideas or acting on behalf of China’s communist leaders. Huawei Technologies Co. is facing criminal charges that it stole phone-testing information from T-Mobile US Inc..

Complaints about theft of intellectual property have been a key issue in President Donald Trump’s trade war with China. Congress has placed limits on the Defense Department’s use of components from Chinese companies including Huawei and Hytera.

Motorola Solutions, based in Chicago, contends that Hytera, its former distributor, hired away workers as part of a plan to steal technology and compete in the market for digital radios. The systems enable two-way communications even in dire situations like the wildfires in California or other disasters where radio towers are not working properly.

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“We believe that Hytera’s unlawful acts create an unfair playing field and threaten the industry’s ability to innovate, ultimately hurting customers,” said Motorola Solutions General Counsel Mark Hacker.

Hytera in turn has accused Motorola Solutions of abusing its superior market power to hobble competition, and has an antitrust lawsuit pending against the bigger company.

“While Hytera seeks only fair competition based on innovation, Motorola Solutions continues to try only to drive out competitors, doing everything from forcing radio dealers to drop competitors’ products, to emailing our dealers and customers with blatant misinformation,” the company said in a statement.

The dispute is over commercially-available radios, not those used by firefighters and police.

Hytera, founded in 1993, was a distributor of Motorola products until 2001 when it began selling its own analog radios. According to Motorola Solutions, the analog products “faced extinction” with a U.S. Federal Communications Commission regulation regarding radio systems used by businesses that forced a switch to digital technology.

California regulator sanctions utility over power outages

  California regulator sanctions utility over power outages SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California's utility regulator is issuing a series of sanctions against Pacific Gas and Electric for what it calls "failures in execution" during the largest planned power shut-off in state history to avoid wildfires. California Public Utilities Commission President Marybel Batjer says the utility must have a goal of restoring power within 12 hours instead of its current 48 hours, minimize the scale of outages and improve communication.PG&E last week took the unprecedented step of cutting power to more than 700,000 customers, affecting nearly 2 million Californians.

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Digital Radio

Motorola Solutions introduced its digital radios in 2006, with features like hands-free communications, location functionality, emergency alarms for workers in distress and the ability to connect a phone user with a group of radio users.

In 2008, Hytera hired three Motorola Solutions engineers who had worked at the company’s Malaysia facility. Hytera contends it didn’t know the three men had downloaded thousands of pages of internal Motorola Solutions documents until after the suit was filed. The men left Hytera last year.

Hytera said the supposed secrets Motorola Solutions says were stolen were publicly known and were just part of the Digital Mobile Radio standard. Hytera conceded certain lines of source code were copied, but says it was so little that it didn’t amount to an infringement.

Three Weeks

Since Hytera’s radios first came out in 2010, Motorola Solutions waited far too long to bring suit on the trade secrets claims, the Chinese company said. Motorola Solutions said it sued in 2017 as soon as it figured out what had happened.

PG&E is offering $13.5 billion in compensation to wildfire victims

  PG&E is offering $13.5 billion in compensation to wildfire victims Bankrupt utility giant PG&E Corp. is offering $13.5 billion in compensation to the victims of wildfires sparked by its power lines as part of a restructuring plan, according to people with knowledge of the situation. In doing so, the San Francisco-based power company is trying to provide the same amount that a group of its creditors -- led by Pacific Investment Management Co. and Elliott Management Corp. -- has agreed to pay victims in a rival reorganization proposal, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are private.

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With wildfires ravaging many parts of California , President Trump put pressure on Gov. In his first significant mention of the California wildfires on Twitter since the Kincade Fire erupted in late California governor pleads with residents to stop targeting utility workers .

The trial before District Judge Charles Norgle is expected to last at least three weeks.

The Chinese government has focused efforts on transforming the Asian nation into a global leader in technology, investing billions of dollars in research in key industries. The past two U.S. administrations have said that push encouraged Chinese companies to steal American and European ideas to meet those goals.

Read More: Motorola Solutions Says It’s Winning Radio Battle With Hytera

The fight between Motorola Solutions and Hytera spans the globe, with legal cases in the U.S., China, Germany and Australia. Motorola Solutions won an order that limited imports of some Hytera radios, though it didn’t affect current models.

The case is Motorola Solutions Inc. v. Hytera Communications Corp., 17-1973, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).

To contact the reporter on this story: Susan Decker in Washington at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at [email protected], John Harney

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

California power shutoff: largest utility to intentionally cut electricity to 150,000 customers .
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. expects high winds and dry conditions over the next 24 hours, leading to increased fire risk. The public safety power shutoff will affect 18 counties, PG&E said.The shutoffs will begin as early as 6 a.m. local time and as late as 4 p.m., and will affect Northern California areas of the Sierra Foothills, the North Bay and the North Valley.

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