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SpicyIP Tidbit: OnePlus Settles its OS Dispute, Indian Phone Owners to Receive Updates


bury the hatchetIn what will come as a welcome development to most Indian OnePlus One smartphone owners, OnePlus has resolved its legal dispute over exclusive rights with Cyanogen by “mutual consent”. The dispute was filed in the Delhi High Court in December last year by Micromax complaining that they had an exclusive license agreement with Cyanogen for the Cyanogen Operating System (that also powers the OnePlus One) in a few South Asian countries. Micromax argued therefore that OnePlus was not entitled to use the operating system on OnePlus One units sold in this region.

We followed the dispute on the blog as it happened, initially reporting on a poorly reasoned Single Judge decision. This order granted an ex-parte injunction against OnePlus without entering into an analysis as to how privity of contract does not serve as a defence to shield OnePlus. It also did not consider a large number of issues that would arise if Intellectual Property issues were really to be addressed. The tragedy was however corrected on appeal to the Division Bench, where J. Nandrajog vacated this injuction and strongly advised caution against passing of injunctions ex-parte in circumstances where the opportunity to provide reasoning in the order was severely limited by not hearing the other party. A timeline of the dispute is available here.

As a consequence of this legal battle OnePlus refused to provide OTA updates to its Indian One owners while it was available to the rest of the world. One important consequence of this development is that now OnePlus has committed to making these updates available to Indian consumers, which will ensure that they keep up with the rest of the world. With the immense popularity of the device, this is definitely a welcome move. The exact terms of the settlement are unclear (readers in the know are welcome to write to us or comment with any information they may have) and this makes deciphering the legal arrangement between the parties all the more difficult, considering also the fact that Micromax has launched a phone in India based on the Cyanogen OS – the YU. This settlement throws up interesting questions as to the final status of the license and Micromax’s future course of action with the YU and some answers will be most welcome.

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Thomas J. Vallianeth

Thomas is a final year law student at the National Law University, Jodhpur pursuing a B.Sc. LL.B. (IP Hons.) course. His first exposure to IP law was at a workshop that he attended in High School and ever since then, he has pursued a keen interest in the field. However, his real interests lie in the interfaces between Technology Law and IP, with an active interest in the Open Source movement.

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