Jury awards Alcatel-Lucent $367M in Microsoft patent suit

But long legal battle over MP3 patents continues

A jury in San Diego ordered Microsoft Corp. to pay Alcatel-Lucent $367.4 million for infringing on two patents, adding a new chapter to a long-running dispute between the companies.

The jury, in U.S. District Court in San Diego, found that Microsoft had infringed on two patents involving user-interface technology. It also found that Microsoft didn't infringe on another Alcatel-Lucent patent related to video decoding. The court ruled that patent, which Alcatel-Lucent alleged was infringed in MPEG2-based DVD playback in Windows, is invalid.

According to Microsoft, which will try to overturn the infringement verdict, Alcatel-Lucent had hoped to receive $1.75 billion in damages. Microsoft called the video patent ruling a victory for the many companies that use MPEG video-decoding technology.

The case dates back to 2003, when Alcatel-Lucent charged Microsoft, Dell Inc. and Gateway Inc. with patent infringement.

Last year, a court reversed a $1.5 billion patent-infringement case against Microsoft in a case Alcatel-Lucent brought against the software giant related to MP3 technology.

There's more to come in the ongoing battle between the companies. On April 22, the San Diego court will hear a case that Microsoft is bringing against Alcatel-Lucent, accusing it of infringing on nine patents.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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