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February 22, 2007

Microsoft fined $1.5 billion in Alcatel-Lucent patent donnybrook

Posted by David Hunter at 6:30 PM ET.

Jessica Mintz for the AP reports on the big punch landed by Alcatel today in the long running patent fight with occasional partner, Microsoft:

Microsoft Corp. must pay $1.5 billion in damages to telecommunications equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent SA for violating two patents related to digital music, a federal jury ruled Thursday.

The Redmond, Wash.-based software company said the patents in question govern the conversion of audio into the digital MP3 file format on personal computers.

In 2003, Lucent Technologies Inc., which last year was acquired by Alcatel, filed 15 patent claims against Gateway Inc. and Dell Inc. In April 2003, Microsoft added itself to the list of defendants, saying the patents were closely tied to its Windows operating system. The PC makers are still defendants.

Microsoft said a judge threw out two of the 2003 patent claims, and scheduled six separate trials to consider the remaining disputes. The case that was just decided went to trial in San Diego on Jan. 29.

Microsoft was undaunted:

In a statement, Microsoft Deputy General Counsel Tom Burt said the software titan believes that the verdict “is completely unsupported by the law or the facts.”

“We will seek relief from the trial court, and if necessary, appeal,” Burt said.

Microsoft also got in a jab of its own earlier in the week when it was reported that they filed a new patent lawsuit and international trade complaint against Alcatel-Lucent:

Microsoft, the world’s biggest software maker, filed a complaint Feb. 16 in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, and on the same day filed a trade complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington. Both accuse Alcatel-Lucent, the world’s biggest maker of telecommunications equipment, of infringing four patents and seek a halt to sales.

“We are seeking to stop the future importation of unlicensed Alcatel-Lucent products into the United States until Alcatel-Lucent has taken an appropriate license,” Guy Esnouf, a Microsoft spokesman, said in a statement.

The Delaware lawsuit and trade commission complaint target Alcatel-Lucent’s OmniTouch software and related computer servers that let users get voice mail, e-mail and faxes through one system. Microsoft claims Alcatel-Lucent is using Microsoft’s patented technology to compete with products such as its Communicator software.

Microsoft could be able to block imports of Lucent products from the trade commission case and could get cash compensation from the civil suit.

There were already earlier communications patent lawsuits filed by the parties ([1], [2]) as well as one over the Xbox.

Filed under Alcatel-Lucent, Coopetition, Microsoft, Patent Lawsuits, Patents

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7 Responses to “Microsoft fined $1.5 billion in Alcatel-Lucent patent donnybrook”

  1. Microsoft wins one from Alcatel-Lucent -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] You may recall from the coverage of Microsoft’s $1.5 billion dollar loss in a patent suit with Alcatel-Lucent that it was just the first of six related suits. Today, the second suit was dismissed: A judge in a San Diego court late Thursday dismissed one of several patent claims Alcatel-Lucent has made against Microsoft in several high-profile cases against the vendor, but that does not mean the software company is out of the woods yet. [...]

  2. MP3 has more fathers than Anna Nicole Smith’s baby -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] If you found puzzling the details surrounding the $1.5 billion MP3 patent infringement judgment against Microsoft won by Alcatel-Lucent, see Douglas Heingartner’s attempt to delineate MP3 paternity in today’s NY Times. Let’s just say that there are numerous candidates, all with their hands out. Filed under Coopetition, Patents, Microsoft, Alcatel-Lucent, Patent Lawsuits [...]

  3. Microsoft ahead in round 3 patent trial with Alcatel-Lucent -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Fifteen patents were initially at issue, and because the case is so complex, the judge divided it into six separate trials. If you’re keeping score, Microsoft lost big in the first round, but came back strong to win the second. Filed under Coopetition, Patents, Dell, Microsoft, Alcatel-Lucent, Patent Lawsuits [...]

  4. Microsoft News Odds and Ends, March 21, 2007 -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Judge backs $1.5 billion patent decision against Microsoft in the first Alcatel-Lucent case decided in late February. [...]

  5. Microsoft Weekly Miscellany, May 4, 2007 -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Judge tells Microsoft to pay up in Alcatel-Lucent patent case. There won’t be any $1.5 billion checks any time soon though – just more legal maneuvering. [...]

  6. » You can taste the irony of Microsoft’s patent positions on MP3 and Linux | Dana Gardner’s BriefingsDirect | Says:

    [...] Yes, litigating your way to software business success has its pitfalls, and it's ironies. Trouble for Microsoft is that it has the deepest pockets in town, and therefore an IP infringement magnet per none, whereas the Linux cup runnith over in all directions, with only a trickle available for a jury to potentially ransack. It just doesn't seem fair. [...]

  7. $1.5B Alcatel-Lucent judgement against Microsoft reversed -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] A US Federal Court judge today reversed the whopping $1.5 billion judgement against Microsoft that a jury handed down in a Alcatel-Lucent patent lawsuit case last February: [...]

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