Alcatel-Lucent Awarded $1.5 Billion from Microsoft over MP3 Patents

BoyBach

macrumors 68040
Feb 24, 2006
3,023
2
UK
A U.S. federal jury found that Microsoft Corp. infringed audio patents held by Alcatel-Lucent and should pay $1.52 billion in damages, Microsoft said on Thursday.

Microsoft said it plans to first ask the trial judge to knock down the ruling and will appeal if necessary. It said the verdict is unsupported by the law or the facts.

Alcatel-Lucent had accused the world's biggest software maker of infringing patents related to standards used for playing computer music, or MP3, files.

"We made strong arguments supporting our view and we are pleased with the court's decision," said Alcatel-Lucent spokeswoman Joan Campion, declining to discuss details of the decision.

:eek:

Ouch! That's going to hurt no matter how rich a company you are.
 

Rodimus Prime

macrumors G4
Oct 9, 2006
10,136
4
I have a feeling that apple will be next. M$ just happens to be the first one hit because they are the largest. You do not want M$ to lose because then apple will be paying out the rear as well for the same thing. (a long with a very long list of other companies.
 

butaro

macrumors regular
Nov 9, 2006
124
0
Canada
Too bad, Microsoft was/is working closely with the Alcatel side for VoP services. That might hurt that relationship.
 

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Apr 12, 2001
49,668
11,000
Alcatel-Lucent Awarded $1.5 Billion from Microsoft over MP3 Patents

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CNet reports that Microsoft has been hit with a $1.5 billion patent verdict over MP3 audio technology used in Windows since 2003.

Microsoft reportedly licensed the technology from Fraunhofer, a company that helped develop MP3 compression alongside Lucent's Bell Labs. The decision is of particular interest to other technology companies who have licensed MP3 technology from Fraunhofer (now Thomson). This includes hundreds of companies including Apple.

"Therefore, today's outcome is disappointing for us and for the hundreds of other companies who have licensed MP3 technology," Burt 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."
PC World notes that this is the first of six patent lawsuits currently underway by Lucent. The remaining lawsuits directed at Microsoft cover speech pattern technology, user interface patents, Xbox 360 technology, and video technologies.

Microsoft, of course, has stated they "will seek relief from the trial court, and if necessary, appeal".
 

Makosuke

macrumors 603
Aug 15, 2001
6,197
404
The Cool Part of CA, USA
As much as I want to see Microsoft punished in any way possible (even if they didn't do anything wrong, they've gotten away with enough historically to deserve it), I don't think this is a good think. Software patents can end up causing absolutely stupid lawsuits and do little but slow development of good (and often free) technologies.

If you don't want to license your API, that's one thing. But preventing somebody from using a method of doing things because you thought of it first is seriously counterproductive. And if you ARE going to allow software patents, they should be very short-lived, like drug patents, so you don't have asinine things like unlicensed GIF compressors being illegal for 20 years.
 

Lynxpoint

macrumors regular
Jan 13, 2005
163
23
I don't think this is a good think. Software patents can end up causing absolutely stupid lawsuits and do little but slow development of good (and often free) technologies.

If you don't want to license your API, that's one thing. But preventing somebody from using a method of doing things because you thought of it first is seriously counterproductive. And if you ARE going to allow software patents, they should be very short-lived, like drug patents, so you don't have asinine things like unlicensed GIF compressors being illegal for 20 years.
I agree completely.
 

Rocketman

macrumors 603
I have been following this because Lucent was "partners" with the licensing firm. Therefore one would think one partner "speaks for the other" under "partnership and joint-venture" law.

This is distressing because the various licensees acted in "good faith" (yes including Apple) and are still "liable". This could be a defect in the law, a jury gone wild, most likely bad jury instructions or worse, a case of double dipping of fees supported by law.

In any case this clearly implies liability to Apple too.

The award was relatively small considering the scope of the claims, but at what point do contracts and fees matter at all? It has not yet been detected.

Was there even an offset considered and was it the fees paid, or the distributed percentage of the rights licensed for?

MANY aspects for appeal here.

Rocketman
 

eddyg

macrumors 6502
Sep 5, 2003
331
0
Christchurch, New Zealand
How Lucent has fallen

Just goes to show how far Lucent has fallen. Rather than try
to make money on their actual products, which have been failing horribly.
They are trawling their large patent pool and trying to make money off the back of other companies success.

I'd be quite embarrassed to be working for Lucent right now... they are
scum in my eyes.

Cheers, Ed.
 

macguysoft

macrumors member
Jan 9, 2007
66
0
i hope not also! but i don't think they are....i like to think positive :)
Do you suppose that if that happens, then MS will complain about being the only company that got sued? LOL. I'd like to think positive but that sadly won't help change the outcome of things. If they do, we'll have to see if Apple made the same mistake. They are usually careful but no one is perfect.
 

72930

Retired
May 16, 2006
9,060
4
Just thinking...that 0.02 billion rounded off for the thread title is an awful lot of money...
 

running

macrumors member
Jan 11, 2006
58
0
How can anybody rate this as positive? Because Microsoft is evil evil evil company and deserves it? Definitely not.. I don't like these "sue them all" actions

it can turn against Apple as well...
 

72930

Retired
May 16, 2006
9,060
4
How can anybody rate this as positive? Because Microsoft is evil evil evil company and deserves it? Definitely not.. I don't like these "sue them all" actions

it can turn against Apple as well...
I agree...but microsoft-bashing is fun...
 
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