Thursday, February 22, 2007

M$ hit with largest Patent infringment award to Alcatel-Lucent

The award was won on Thursday by Alcatel-Lucent after a jury in a US district court in San Diego agreed with its claim that the software giant Microsoft, affectionately known here as M$, had infringed two of its patents.
Microsoft was ordered by a federal jury yesterday to pay $1.52 billion in a patent dispute over the MP3 format.
The dispute surrounded Microsoft's use of MP3 technology, a format for encoding and compressing of digital music so that it less space than a conventional methods. Smaller size also provides easier transmission over the mediums such as internet.

Thursday's verdict, stemming from the use of audio coding technology in PCs, was the first of five due to be heard by the San Diego court in the coming months. The others relate to speech coding technology in Windows; user interface patents; technology in the Xbox games console; and video coding in other Microsoft software.

So M$ has been crushing anyone who came against it, like "Lindows" trade name by former MP3.COM's Micheal Robertson and countless other little companies. But I guess Alcatel - Lucent must be too big for it.

Given Microsoft's dominance of the desktop computing market, the potential losses are considerable. Thursday's award was calculated based on the number of Windows operating systems sold since May 2003, multiplied by the average selling price of a range of PCs.

Microsoft and others have licensed MP3 — not from Alcatel-Lucent, but from a consortium led by the Fraunhofer Institute, a large German research organization that was involved, along with the French electronics company Thomson and Bell Labs, in the format’s development.

The current case turns on two patents that Alcatel claims were developed by Bell Labs before it joined with Fraunhofer to develop MP3.

New york times article

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