In an interim reprieve for Chinese mobile phone maker Xiaomi Technology, the Delhi High Court today allowed it to sell and import till February 5 handsets which have chipsets of Qualcomm Incorporated.
The interim ban on import and sale of Xiaomi devices which run on other processors or chipsets shall continue, the court clarified.
Redmi Note, one of the latest entrants of Xiaomi in India, runs on a Mediatek processor.
A bench headed by Justice Pradeep Nandrajog permitted Xiaomi to sell its Qualcomm chipset-based devices as a “pro tem” (temporary) measure till the issue is heard by the single judge on the next date of hearing, February 5, 2015 and disposed of the Chinese company’s appeal against the December 8 order of the high court.
On December 8, the high court had restrained Xiaomi and online e-commerce site Flipkart from selling in India handsets of the mobile maker that run on the technology patented by Swedish company Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson.
The court today passed the “pro tem” interim order after Xiaomi alleged that Ericsson had suppressed facts while obtaining the stay order.
Xiaomi, represented by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, contended that Qualcomm has a licence to use the 3G technology patented by Ericsson and any 3G device of the Chinese company having Qualcomm chipset would not infringe on 3G-related patents of the Swedish company.
Ericsson, represented by senior advocates Pratibha M Singh and Rajiv Nayar, denied that it suppressed any fact.
It also sought that the ban on import and sale of non- Qualcomm chipset-based devices should continue.
Xiaomi claimed that the “sweeping” interim order passed by the single judge on Ericsson’s plea had “throttled” its business.
The bench, by “striking a balance” between the rights of Ericsson and Xiaomi, allowed the Chinese firm to sell its Qualcomm chipset-based devices while directing it to deposit Rs 100 per device imported in the name of Registrar General of the Delhi High Court.
The court also directed Xiaomi to file an affidavit by January 5, disclosing the import of devices containing Qualcomm chipset pursuant to this order as well as particulars of the invoices of the Qualcomm chipsets purchased by it.
“Imports made in January 2015 would likewise be disclosed by way of an affidavit and Rs 100 per device deposited in the name of Registrar General of this court by February 3, 2015,” it said.
During the proceedings, Sibal argued that the “sweeping” ban by the single judge would adversely affect the business of Xiaomi, which entered the Indian mobile market in July.
He said Xiaomi sells its handsets exclusively through Flipkart on flash sales held on every Tuesday and on these days nearly a lakh units are sold each time.
He also said that as a result of the December 8 order, Xiaomi’s business here has been “throttled”.
In its December 8 order, the high court had also directed customs authorities to prevent import of Xiaomi phones that are infringing on the patents of Ericsson.
The order was passed on Ericsson’s plea that Xiaomi has been violating its eight patents pertaining to AMR, EDGE and 3G technologies in the field of telecommunication.
Ericsson has said that it had invited Xiaomi to use its Standard Essential Patent by obtaining a licence, but instead of doing so, the Chinese manufacturer launched its devices in India in July.
A Standard Essential Patent is the patent for the core technology essential to create something of a particular technical standard.
In this case, mobile phones cannot be made without the GSM, GPRS, EDGE and WCDMA technology, which is patented by Ericsson.