Regular readers will know that the addition of Huawei and scores of its subsidiaries to the U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security Entity List last May has had a serious impact on standards setting organizations (SSOs). Specifically, the related rules bar companies from disclosing certain types of U.S. origin technology to companies on the Entity List, and technology is exactly what is disclosed in the course of standards development. Due to a lack of guidance from the Department of Commerce, SSOs have been left wondering whether they can allow Huawei and its subsidiaries (collectively, “Huawei”) to participate in their technical activities. When they decide that the answer is yes, U.S. companies must then decide whether they read the regulatory tea leaves the same way. Many have not.
Over the past two weeks the situation has taken a more hopeful turn. The impetus for this change has a lot to do with the law of unexpected consequences – in this case, the results of the Department of Commerce refusing to provide the type of certainly that the private sector needs when political winds shift.