Microsoft to pay Alcatel 1.5 bln for infringement

23rd February 2007, Comments 0 comments

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 22, 2007 (AFP) - A US jury found Microsoft guilty of infringing Alcatel-Lucent patents on Thursday and ordered the software giant to pay the French-US firm 1.5 billion dollars.

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 22, 2007 (AFP) - A US jury found Microsoft guilty of infringing Alcatel-Lucent patents on Thursday and ordered the software giant to pay the French-US firm 1.5 billion dollars.

"We think this verdict is completely unsupported by the law or the facts," Microsoft general counsel Tom Burt said in a written statement. "We will seek relief from the trial court, and if necessary appeal."

"We've made strong arguments supporting our view, and we are pleased with the court's decision," Alcatel-Lucent spokeswoman Mary Lou Ambrus said in a prepared statement before declining to comment further on the matter.

Before it merged with Alcatel, Lucent filed a US federal lawsuit in 2003 claiming Microsoft partners, including computer makers Dell and Gateway, used Windows software that infringed its patented technology.

The jury trial that ended in US District Court in the southern California city of San Diego on Thursday centered on MP3 audio technology used in the Windows Media Player software.

Alcatel-Lucent argued in court that technology used to encode and decode digital audio files in Media Player infringed on its patents.

But Microsoft insisted it had paid license fees for the technology it uses and violated no patent rights.

Microsoft said that it had paid Munich-based licensing firm Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft 16 million dollars to legally use the disputed MP3 technology.

"We contend that there was no infringement of any kind and that we have paid the appropriate license fees for any technology that is used in our products," Microsoft said in the wake of the verdict.

The case is part of a broader intellectual property dispute between Microsoft and Alcatel-Lucent.

A total of 15 patents were in dispute when the litigation began. Two of the claims were dismissed and the remaining patents were divided into six groups, each the subject of separate jury trials in San Diego.

The remaining alleged patent violations headed for trial concern technology for digital video, speech coding, user interface, and Xbox 360 video game consoles, according to Microsoft.

The verdict Thursday marked the end of the first trial.

"Today's outcome is disappointing for us and for the hundreds of other companies who have licensed MP3 technology," Microsoft said.

"We are concerned that this decision opens the door for Alcatel-Lucent to pursue action against hundreds of other companies who purchased the rights to use MP3 technology from Fraunhofer, the industry-recognized rightful licensor."

Microsoft also protested the formula the jury used to calculate the 1.5-billion-dollar damage award.

The jury multiplied the number of copies of Windows sold since May of 2003 times the prices of high-end Dell and Gateway computers, according to Microsoft.

The next patent case trial, involving speech coding, is to begin in San Diego in March or April.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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