Judge rules against Microsoft in MP3 patent case

A federal judge in San Diego has ruled against a handful of defenses presented by Microsoft Corp. in a patent trial that saw a $1.5 billion jury decision delivered against the company in February. The U.S. District Court jury on Feb. 22 found Microsoft infringed on two patents related to MP3 digital music technology asserted by Alcatel-Lucent, and based the considerable size of its award on worldwide sales of Microsoft products using the technology.

Parallel to the jury's deliberations on the patents, Judge Rudi Brewster heard five separate defenses presented by Microsoft, and on Monday filed a ruling against four of them. Brewster wrote that "Lucent is the sole owner of the (MP3) reissue patents," and that "Microsoft is not entitled to any intervening rights." If the judge had ruled in Microsoft's favor, it could have placed some limitations on the hefty jury verdict. Microsoft still intends to ask the court to review the verdict, but will wait until the judge has ruled on the fifth defense before it does so, according to a Microsoft spokesman.

Microsoft has claimed that the patents were developed jointly by an Alcatel-Lucent predecessor company owned by AT&T and Germany's Fraunhofer Institute, and that it had licensed the technology from Fraunhofer.

View: Full Article @ MarketWatch

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15 Comments

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That Lucent has a say in mp3 patents is probably news for pretty much all of us. :S

I wonder what them winning could have in effect to the mp3 community at large...
They can basically start suing anyone they feel like? Because I can sure not think of many who have seen this coming.

Time for devs to start using formats like Ogg more just to avoid the risks of this patent jungle..?

Alcatel-Lucent is now going to go after all the big companies who got their MP3 license from Frauenhofer, mark my words. This is going to set a very very bad precident. I won't be surprised is the costs of anything MP3 related get jacked up to pay for the penalties/royalties that they are going to have to pay Alcatel-Lucent. I wouldn't also be surprised if these companies try to sue Frauenhofer over this.

Maybe companies will finally stop supporting mp3 now. It's an old outdated format with too many royalties tied to it. There are far better alternatives out there.

Indeed, this could actually be a GOOD thing if companies begin to realize that open formats are the way to go.

Regarding Alcatel-Lucent, why would they go after other companies? They risk their patent to be invalidated by other jury.

TRC said,
Maybe companies will finally stop supporting mp3 now. It's an old outdated format with too many royalties tied to it. There are far better alternatives out there.

Eaxctly. It's about high noon the stop using mp3 and switch to better alternatives.

kingbob said,
Alcatel-Lucent sucks.

And how! They failed at their intended line of business, so they're switching to a litigation firm like SCO.

GreyWolfSC said,
And how! They failed at their intended line of business, so they're switching to a litigation firm like SCO.

It's funny that you're comparing Alcatel-Lucent with SCO: both taking other companies to court over IP issues, and in both trials MS was involved.
As someone said some posts above, IP works both ways.

Microsoft will probably enrole the company and its employees in litigation for decades, and simply throw money at the problem till it goes away. 1.5 billion is a huge amount of money, and even to microsoft that buys alot of IP, marketspace and such, but in the long run microsoft will probably continue on its path.

I hope microsoft wins actually, id hate to pay microsofts bill in the form of added pricing.

Hey microsoft, why not just buy out Alcatel-Lucent? their market capitalization is only 13 times the bill your paying to them now, and you'd have another headway into the telecommunications industry. Its called vertical integration in business terms i believe, and it only means good things from a purly capitalistic point of view.

Ya know, that's not a bad idea at all. (really)

Goes back to the old MS adgage; if you cant beat em, buy em.


bmgoau said,
Microsoft will probably enrole the company and its employees in litigation for decades, and simply throw money at the problem till it goes away. 1.5 billion is a huge amount of money, and even to microsoft that buys alot of IP, marketspace and such, but in the long run microsoft will probably continue on its path.

I hope microsoft wins actually, id hate to pay microsofts bill in the form of added pricing.

Hey microsoft, why not just buy out Alcatel-Lucent? their market capitalization is only 13 times the bill your paying to them now, and you'd have another headway into the telecommunications industry. Its called vertical integration in business terms i believe, and it only means good things from a purly capitalistic point of view.

hapbt said,
neener neener neener
intellectual property rights work both ways suckas

yeah and it always hurts the CONSUMER in the end