Chinese smartphone vendor Xiaomi Corp (小米) has been barred by an Indian court from selling its handsets in the country for allegedly infringing mobile phone technology patented by Ericsson AB.
Judge G.P. Mittal of the New Delhi High Court also ruled earlier this week that Xiaomi’s Indian distributor — online retailer Flipkart.com — is prohibited from selling the Chinese company’s phones while the court hears Ericsson’s complaint. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Feb. 5.
The lawsuit follows more than three years of attempts to negotiate licensing for patents with Xiaomi, Ericsson said in an e-mail on Thursday.
“It is unfair for Xiaomi to benefit from our substantial R&D [research and development] investment without paying a reasonable licensee fee for our technology,” Ericsson said. “We look forward to working with Xiaomi to reach a mutually fair and reasonable conclusion, just as we do with all of our licensees.”
Ericsson owns eight patents pertaining to wireless technology used in 2G and 3G devices, according to the order.
The Economic Times newspaper reported on Thursday that Xiaomi has sold more than 800,000 smartphones — including the popular Mi3 and low-cost Red Mi 1S — in India since their launch in July.
Xiaomi, founded in 2010, has grown quickly on the strength of smartphone handsets priced as low as US$115 and Internet-based marketing and distribution. Xiaomi passed Samsung Electronics Co as China’s best-selling smartphone brand by number of units sold in the second quarter of this year.
The company is starting to expand abroad, targeting India and other developing markets.
“I am satisfied that plaintiff [Ericsson] has made out a prima facie case for grant of an interim injunction in its favor,” the Press Trust of India news agency quoted Judge Mittal as saying in his order.
The judge also ordered Xiaomi and Flipkart to file affidavits disclosing the number of devices they have sold in India using the technologies at issue in the case.
On Thursday, Xiaomi said it has suspended all sales in India “until further notice” and is considering its legal options, vice president for global operations Hugo Barra said on the firm’s Indian Web site.
“Our sincere apologies to all Indian Mi fans,” Barra wrote. “We have greatly enjoyed our journey with you in India over the last five months and we firmly intend to continue it.”
Xiaomi is open to working with Ericsson to resolve the matter, spokesman Tony Wei (魏來) said in an e-mail.
Additional reporting by Bloomberg
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