Microsoft Hit with $1.52 Bln Patent Suit Damages

By Reuters  |  Posted 02-22-2007
NEW YORK (Reuters) - 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 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.

Microsoft said it has already properly licensed the MP3 technology from a German company called Fraunhofer for $16 million.

"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," Tom Burt, Microsoft's deputy general counsel, said in a statement.

Microsoft and Alcatel are locked in a number of patent disputes including a suit over the video-decoding technology in Microsoft's Xbox 360 video game console.

Shares of Microsoft closed 4 cents higher at $29.39 on Nasdaq on Thursday. Alcatel-Lucent's U.S. shares ended 7 cents higher at $13.14 on the New York Stock Exchange.