After the bang comes the ban: High Court stops Xiaomi from selling phones in India

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Smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi Mobile has been banned by the Delhi High Court from selling handsets in India, the Mint newspaper reported today. The ban is over a patent infringement suit filed by Ericsson in India. It also prohibited Xiaomi from making, assembling, importing or offering for sale its devices which are infringing the mobile phone technology patented by Ericsson, according to the report.

Hugo Barra, Xiaomi’s vice president, international, told YourStory:“We haven't received an official notice from the Delhi High Court yet. However, our legal team is currently evaluating the situation based on the information we have. 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.”

The order was passed on the plea of Ericsson that Xiaomi has been violating its eight patents pertaining to AMR, EDGE and 3G technologies in the field of telecommunication, Mint said. Under the order, the court has asked Xiaomi and its sole distribution partner Flipkart to disclose the number of devices, that fall within the eight patents, sold by them in India till date and the revenue earned from those sales. The court has also appointed three local commissioners to visit the premises of Xiaomi and Flipkart where the devices are stored to collect documents as well as seal the infringing mobiles. According to Mint, Ericsson has said it had invited Xiaomi to use its patented technology by obtaining a licence, but instead of doing so, the Chinese manufacturer launched its devices in India in July 2014. This is not the first time, the Chinese phone maker, which disrupted the global smartphone market by tying up with online marketplaces and relying on word-of-mouth publicity to sell its instruments at rock-bottom prices, has been in the eye of a storm. Earlier this year, the Indian Air Force warned users that their data is not safe, triggering worries phone data may be diverted to Beijing servers. Xiaomi then clarified that it is planning to set up an R&D centre here in India and exploring the possibility of manufacturing phones in India, to deflect security concerns. The phone maker’s rapid growth in China and India, which rank among the world’s biggest smartphone markets, has pushed its valuation up to $40 billion within four years of operation, amid talk of a $1.5 billion funding deal with Russian investor DST. In the second quarter of 2014, Xiaomi shipped more than 15 million of its devices, compared to 13.2 million of Samsung. The firm that terms itself a ‘mobile internet company’ rather than a ‘handset manufacturer’, shipped 18.7 million devices in 2013 and is already on its way to an ambitious target of 60 million devices this year. The latest move clearly puts a spoke in the wheel of Xiaomi’s ambitious plans but the phone maker is nowhere close to giving up. Watch this space for further developments on this interesting story.

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