“Microsoft Corp. does not have to pay $1.53 billion in damages to Alcatel-Lucent SA, a federal judge ruled Monday, reversing a March jury decision that Microsoft programs infringe on Alcatel-Lucent’s digital music patents,” Jessica Mintz reports for The Associated Press.
“U.S. District Court Judge Rudi M. Brewster in San Diego said Microsoft’s Windows Media Player software does not infringe on one of the two patents in question,” Mintz reports. “Brewster also said the second patent is owned by both Alcatel-Lucent and Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, a German company Microsoft paid $16 million for rights to use the technology. Since Fraunhofer did not also sue Microsoft, the Redmond-based software maker is in the clear, the judge decided.”
“Both patents cover the encoding and decoding of audio into the digital MP3 format, a popular way to convert music from a CD into a file on a personal computer and vice versa,” Mintz reports.
Mintz reports, “In a May court filing, the judge seemed to support the jury’s decisions, and Monday’s turnabout dismayed Alcatel-Lucent. ‘This reversal of the judge’s own pretrial and post-trial rulings is shocking and disturbing, especially since — after a three-week trial and four days of careful deliberation — the jury unanimously agreed with us, and we believe their decision should stand,’ said Mary Lou Ambrus, a spokeswoman for Alcatel-Lucent, in an e-mail. ‘We still have a strong case and we believe we will prevail on appeal.'”
Full article here.