More reports on: Telecom

HC bars Xiaomi from selling phones in India on Ericsson plaint

11 December 2014

The Delhi High Court has asked Xiaomi to stop selling and importing phones in India on a plea by Ericsson, which deals in networking technologies, that Xiaomi's phones infringed on its patents.

The court granted an ex parte injunction order against the Chinese company for infringement of Ericsson's patents on Tuesday. The patents reportedly belong to the fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (Frand) terms category, which means they are essential, and Ericsson can licence them to other companies for a reasonable fee.

But apparently, for now there is no deal between Ericsson and Xiaomi for the said patents.

Ericsson wrote to Xiaomi in July this year asking it to pay for the said patents. But Xiaomi allegedly did not reply.

According to the court order, Xiaomi cannot bring any new phones into India nor sell or advertise them here.This means Xiaomi may not be able to sell any phones in India unless it resoves the legal issues surrounding its operations.

Xiaomi's India head Manu Kumar Jain said that the company was yet to get the court order. "While we haven't received an official notice from the Delhi High Court, our legal team is currently evaluating the situation based on the information we have," he said.

"India is a very important market for Xiaomi and we will respond promptly as needed and in full compliance with Indian laws. Moreover, we are open to working with Ericsson to resolve this matter amicably," Jain added.

In India, Xiaomi along with its partner Flipkart is focusing on selling the RedMi 1S and the RedMi Note. It is also planning to bring the 4G version of the RedMi Note this month and the Mi 4 early next year.

After entering India this year in July, Xiaomi has grown fast. It has managed to create a string buzz around the brand by offering aggressively-priced phones. Recently Xiaomi vice president Hugo Barra said that India was the company's second biggest market after China.

On Tuesday, the company sold around 75,000 units of RedMi Note in 8 seconds.

While the fight over patents, especially FRAND patents, are more common in countries like the US, Ericsson is going after copycat phone companies in India in the last one year. It recently asked Micromax for royalties, claiming that the Indian phone company was using Ericsson technology in its phones without approval.

After months-long fight in court, the Delhi High Court recently, in an interim order, asked Micromax to pay royalty to Ericsson.

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