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Xiaomi caught in legal crossfire over patent infringement in India, France

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi got embroiled in a legal dispute over patent infringement in its key markets such as India and France, the media has reported. The patent lawsuit has been filed by Sun Patent Trust, which alleged that Xiaomi has used its LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) technology since 2018 without securing the necessary licenses. LTE-A, is an enhancement of the standard 4G LTE, and provides superior speeds and performance.

Delhi HC To Determine If Xiaomi Violated Sun Patent Trust’s Patents
In India, the High Court of Delhi is set to determine whether Xiaomi has indeed violated the patents held by Sun Patent Trust and whether the patent holder has met its own obligations. Concurrently, the Paris Judicial Court is examining the issue of royalty payments related to the disputed patents.

The lawsuits argue that Xiaomi has been integrating LTE-A technology into its 4G devices without proper license since late 2018. These legal actions, collectively estimated at over $300 million (approximately Rs 24,978 crore), pose a substantial reputational and financial risk for Xiaomi, particularly in the Indian market.

Joseph Casino, Managing Trustee of Sun Patent Trust, was quoted as saying: “It is surprising that a company of Xiaomi’s standing is simply refusing to come to amicable terms at the negotiation table. Instead of engaging in meaningful negotiations, the company has been repeatedly trying to delay consummating a license.”

“Patent law exists to protect and further substantial investments in R&D, yet Xiaomi is frustrating this goal by failing to come to terms on a negotiated license. It is regrettable that we must resort to such measures to compel Xiaomi to comply with international norms,” Casino added.

Negotiations between Xiaomi and Sun Patent Trust have been ongoing since 2019, however, no agreement has been reached.

Sun Patent Trust contends that Xiaomi has repeatedly refused fair licensing terms, leading to these legal confrontations. Xiaomi, which reported global revenues exceeding $10 billion in the third quarter (Q3) of 2023, now faces significant legal and financial challenges due to these disputes in key markets.

In addition to the patent lawsuits, Xiaomi is also dealing with legal issues in India related to the Enforcement Directorate’s seizure of Rs 5,551.27 crore from its bank accounts. This case is currently under appeal, with a division bench of the High Court of Karnataka hearing Xiaomi’s challenge against the earlier ruling that upheld the seizure. The bench, comprising Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice M G S Kamal, has adjourned the hearing to January 20 after listening to arguments from Xiaomi’s counsel. ABP Live

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