Xiaomi Wins Partial Reprieve on India Smartphone Sales

An India court partially lifted a sales ban on Xiaomi Corp., saying the world’s third-largest smartphone vendor could import devices as long as they use chips from Qualcomm Inc.

A two-judge panel of the Delhi High Court cleared those sales until another hearing on Jan. 8, Kapil Sibal, an attorney representing Xiaomi, said today.

The decision came after Xiaomi appealed a Dec. 8 ban imposed by a single judge in the same court on importing and selling mobile devices in the company’s biggest overseas market. The Beijing-based company and Indian e-commerce partner Flipkart.com were blocked from making or selling devices that Ericsson AB say infringes its wireless-technology patents, according to court papers.

Xiaomi subsequently suspended all sales in India “until further notice.”

Kaylene Hong, a spokeswoman for Xiaomi in Singapore, declined to comment. Ashutosh Kumar, an attorney for Ericsson, said the court ruled that Xiaomi could sell phones using Qualcomm chip-sets until Jan. 8.

Stockholm-based Ericsson has said its lawsuit follows more than three years of attempts to negotiate licensing for patents with Xiaomi.

“Xiaomi needs a license from Ericsson for all of their phones imported to India, which will be clarified in the upcoming hearing,” the company said today in an e-mailed statement. “Our ambition has always been to reach a mutually fair and reasonable conclusion with Xiaomi, just as we do with all of our licensees.”

Qualcomm, MediaTek

Xiaomi’s Mi3 and Redmi 1S use Qualcomm chips, while the large-screen Redmi Note device uses a processor from MediaTek Inc., according to the company’s Indian website.

The initial suspension of sales came less than five months after Xiaomi debuted its phones in India, targeting the country as its largest market outside of China. The company vaulted to third place in the global smartphone market last quarter by selling low-cost devices running Google Inc.’s Android system.

Lei Jun, the founder and chief executive officer of Xiaomi, has set a goal of passing Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple Inc. in the global smartphone market within a decade.

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