In a surprise, body blow to Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, the Delhi High Court has now granted an “ex-parte” injunction to ban Xiaomi from importing or selling phones in India. The injunction comes following Ericsson India’s petition against Xiaomi, Micromax and others regarding patent infringement.
We had earlier reported that Xiaomi and many other Chinese manufacturers were all set to face extensive patent infringement cases from their western counterparts, which included heavyweights like Microsoft, Nokia and Ericsson.
Ericsson has filed similar petitions against Micromax, Gionee and Intex who have also been seeing a rapid surge in smartphone sales due to their exorbitantly lower priced models. However, it was always feared that in the process of bringing prices down, these companies may have violated numerous patents, held by western brands.
The report notes that while Ericsson has largely favourable orders against Micromax and Gionee, the same cannot be said for its case against Intex.
The Delhi High Court has cited various reasons behind the injunction. The foremost, and the most important of them all being Xiaomi’s unresponsiveness to the repeated communication efforts made by Ericsson regarding the matter. The injunction could have been easily avoided by Xiaomi, if it had responded to Ericsson’s calls as such high profile cases are usually dealt at the company level first.
This ex parte order injuncts Xiaomi from selling, advertising, manufacturing or importing devices that infringe the SEPs in question. The court has also directed Indian custom officials from stopping the import of Xiaomi phones under IPR Rules, 2007.
The injunction however, has come under question from various experts on the matter. L. Gopika from National Law University, Bangalore states,
Under domestic law, the Patent Act read with the Civil Procedure Code requires patent suits to be decided by a District Judge at the lowest level and the High Court to have jurisdiction if there is a counterclaim to the suit. Therefore, the Customs Officers do not have the jurisdiction to decide the issues of infringement or validity.
We have contacted Xiaomi for comments on this and will update you as soon as we receive any communication.