By LE Desk

New Delhi, May 10: In a strongly worded judgment, the Delhi High Court has ruled that a foreign court does not have the jurisdiction to restrain a party before it from pursuing its cause before a court in India.

Justice C. Hari Shankar halted the enforcement of an order passed by the Wuhan Intermediate People’s Court in September last year directing InterDigital Technology Corporation, a U.S. technology firm, not to pursue its patent infringement case against Chinese tech giant Xiaomi Corporation in India, The Hindu reported.

“…It is totally impermissible for a court in one sovereign jurisdiction to injunct the party before it from pursuing its cause against infringement of its intellectual property before another sovereign jurisdiction…,” Justice Shankar observed.

The High Court’s decision came on InterDigital’s plea against Xiaomi, which manufactures cellular handsets, compliant with 3G and 4G standards which required technology contained in the Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) held by InterDigital.

InterDigital argued that usage of the technology without due authorisation amounts to infringement. InterDigital further said it was not seeking an absolute ban against Xiaomi from using the SEPs, but wanted protection in the event Xiaomi is not willing to obtain licences at fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) royalty rates.

Prior to InterDigital approaching the Delhi High Court in July last year, Xiaomi had filed an SEP royalty rate-setting suit before the Wuhan Court in June, 2020 for fixing of a global FRAND royalty rate, on the basis of which it could obtain licence from InterDigital.

On September 23, the Wuhan Court directed InterDigital to immediately withdraw or suspend their application for any temporary ban before the Delhi High Court against Xiaomi.

The Wuhan Court had also ordered that InterDigital will have to pay a fine of RMB 1 million yuan per day in the event of violation of its ruling.

Responding to the Wuhan Court order, Justice Shankar said, “The right of the citizen, in this country, to legal redressal to ventilate his legitimate rights, is hallowed, sacred, and fundamental.”

“It is an inviolable and inalienable facet of access to justice…What the order of the Wuhan Court does, unfortunately, is to deny, to the plaintiffs (InterDigital), the right to even flavour this essence, without due justification,” Justice Shankar added.

In the event, the Wuhan Court directs InterDigital to deposit the fine of RMB 1 million per day, Justice Shankar ordered Xiaomi,within one week of passing such an order by the Chinese Court, to deposit a similar amount before the Delhi High Court.

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