Anyone that has ever taken a look at Xiaomi’s suspiciously Apple-like designs won’t be surprised to hear them dismissed as ripoff artists. But a new court ruling suggests they might be patent infringers too.
Delhi High Court in India has banned Xiaomi from selling, assembling, importing and advertising its smartphones in the country, on the basis that the bestselling handsets infringe on certain patents held by another company.
Interestingly, that company isn’t Apple — but rather Ericsson, which claims that Xiaomi violated 8 of its patents, including those related to 3G, EDGE and other technologies.
The Delhi Court Court has asked Xiaomi and retailer Flipkart to reveal how much revenue has so far been earned from Indian sales of Xiaomi handsets. The court also ordered India’s Customs authorities prevent the import of any more phones from the company.
While India is just one territory in the world, this is not an insignificant move.
For one thing, it shows the challenge that will be faced by Xiaomi as it moves beyond Chinese borders. India is also a significant smartphone market, with a vast population of 1.2 billion citizens and rapidly-growing smartphone market.
As a cheaper smartphone brand, Xiaomi was carving its own niche, also. Within its first two months on sale, Xiaomi sold more than half a million handsets, capturing 1.5 percent of India’s smartphone market, and making India the company’s second largest market after China. It even proved willing to rename its brand from Xiaomi to “Mi India” to appeal more to locals, and was planning to open up an R&D facility in the country.
A Xiaomi spokesperson has said that it is willing to “resolve this matter amicably” with Ericsson.