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.
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."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."
I agree completely.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.
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.i hope not also! but i don't think they are....i like to think positive