Patent dispute coaxes Xiaomi to stop sales of phones in India

The Delhi High Court has dropped a bomb in the form of an ex parte injunction order to stop sales of Xiaomi phones in India. Such a directive is issued by a court after hearing only one party involved, which is Ericsson in this case, when the matter concerned is extremely urgent.

The ban has been issued on Xiaomi phones for infringing patents owned by Ericsson. The nature of the injunction means that the Chinese company was not given any notice about the case until the order was passed. What’s interesting is that the complainant did pursue Intex, Micromax and Gionee over similar charges, in the past.

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The Delhi High Court’s missive prevents Xiaomi from selling, advertising, manufacturing or importing electronics infringing the patents in question. In line with the IPR Rules, 2007, Customs officers have been charged with the task of stopping imports of the aforesaid products. Local commissioners have also been asked to visit the company’s representatives and see that the ban is implemented.

But border control mechanisms can apparently be applied to matters related to copyright or trademark, and not for patents. Spicy IP who broke the news, thinks that Ericsson may have gone after Xiaomi over patents it had previously fought for, which are said to be Standard, Essential Patents (SEPs) subject to FRAND (Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory) terms. The case against Intex did not work out properly in the complainant’s favor.

Also see: IAF says its Xiaomi advisory was an internal memo, no ban on Chinese company

Several questions have been raised regarding this unexpected ex parte injunction order. The main reason which seems to have convinced the Delhi High Court to issue the ban is Ericsson’s accusations of Xiaomi not responding to repeated communications regarding the bone of contention. The Chinese company has been making waves in India since its debut. Once a fair trial has been conducted, being forced to pay a small fee to the complainant may be the most damage it takes.