Xiaomi bows to Indian court, halts smartphone sales

The budget handset maker has acquiesced to India's legal system and halted handset sales until a patent dispute with Ericsson is resolved.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer
Xiaomi has confirmed the existence of a court order stemming from India's Delhi High Court, and has agreed to stop selling mobile devices in the country.

The Chinese handset maker, well-known for its popular budget devices, received the court order following complaints from Swedish telecommunications firm Ericsson concerning intellectual property use.

Ericsson alleges that Xiaomi has infringed upon eight 'standard essential patents' used within the firm's products, and despite continual prompts by Ericsson to strike a licensing deal, the firm was ignored. As a result -- and thanks to the presence of Xiaomi subsidiary Xiaomi technology India PVT -- Ericsson has taken the matter to court in India.

Should the court accept these allegations as truth, Xiaomi is liable to pay damages for infringing upon Ericsson's intellectual property rights. In the meantime, however, the Delhi High Court has ordered Xiaomi, as well as the firm's main distributor, Flipkart, to stop selling handsets across the country.

In a statement, Ericsson said:

"It is unfair for Xiaomi to benefit from our substantial R&D investment without paying a reasonable licensee fee for our technology."

Xiaomi is investigating the matter and has agreed to stop selling handsets in India, which the court wishes to see suspended until February 5, when both companies' arguments will be heard.

Higo Barra, Xiaomi's global vice president said in a Facebook post the company has been "committed" to selling the Redmi Note and Redmi 1S devices in India, having received approximately 150,000 registrations for Redmi Note on Flipkart -- the firm's main distributor -- in the last 48 hours alone.

However, due to the court order, the company must put its plans to dominate in India on hold.

"As a law abiding company, we are investigating the matter carefully and assessing our legal options," Barra writes. "Our sincere apologies to all Indian Mi fans! Please rest assured that we're doing all we can to revert the situation. We have greatly enjoyed our journey with you in India over the last 5 months and we firmly intend to continue it!"

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