Xiaomi launched its Mi5 smartphone on Wednesday, using its first ever European launch event to take on Samsung and Apple handsets and build up its brand beyond its current markets. Barra told CNBC in a TV interview on Wednesday: "We primarily focus on existing markets…we're beginning to work our way into other markets."
CNBC noted that "The big questions for Xiaomi are whether it has overcome the intellectual property challenges it has faced to date and how it builds its brand to Western consumers who will never have heard of the brand?"
Hugo Barra, international vice-president, addressed the patent issue at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona by saying that the company had filed 3,600 patents last year globally. Barra told CNBC in December that Xiaomi had filed over 6,000 patents with 40 percent of them in 2015 being filed outside of China.
Barra ignorantly stated last year that Xiaomi couldn't allow a company (Apple) to take ownership of smartphone design, when it was Apple that in fact changed the appearance of so-called smartphones forever in 2007 as the late Apple CEO illustrated in his famed 2007 iPhone introduction keynote as noted below.
In January Patently Apple posted a report titled "Major Tech Coalition is Once Again Backing Samsung in Patent Case that may go to the Supreme Court." In respect to the iPhone design, it was noted in one brief joined by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, groups backing Samsung warned the Supreme Court that the verdict, if allowed to stand, "opens the door to a new species of abusive patent litigation."
Apple has repeatedly argued that the courts have gotten it right in the case, saying it provided clear evidence that Samsung blatantly copied iPhone and iPad technology in the development of its smartphones and tablets.
You have to wonder if Xiaomi's hesitancy of entering the U.S. market for smartphones is due to this case going before the Supreme Court. If the Court allows the verdict to stand for Apple, then Xiaomi's puffery about their patent pool may not be enough against a lawsuit filed by Apple.