A US federal judge overturned the sentence that required Microsoft to pay Alcatel-Lucent more than $ 1.5 billion for alleged patent infringement. Rudi Brewster said, in a 43-page ruling, that the damages established by the previous trial did not continue because Microsoft had not infringed on the patents for the digital MP3 music files that were at the origin of the case.
Microsoft’s lawyer, quoted by AFP, says the judge’s decision is a victory for all consumers of digital music «and» a triumph for common sense «associated with the patent system.
This whole process started in 2003 and was centered around the MP3 audio technology used in Windows Media Player. Alcatel-Lucent claimed that the encryption technology used in the files infringed its patents while Microsoft said it had paid $ 16 million for those patents to the company Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.
However, the judge also questioned the claim for the second patent involved in the case and said that a new trial would be needed to determine who is the legal holder of the same.
Alcatel-Lucent said after the court’s decision that it would appeal the sentence because it believed it was «surprising and unsettling».
The fight for patents between these two companies is not limited to those referring to MP3 technologies. Currently, Microsoft and Alcatel-Lucent are in the middle of a legal dispute over the video decoding technology that Bill Gates’ company uses on XBox 360 consoles.
2007-02-23 – Microsoft ordered to pay $ 1.5 billion to Alcatel-Lucent for patent infringement
2003-04-14 – Microsoft sues Lucent for patent misuse