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Microsoft has been thrown a lifelline after a federal court appeal was overturned in a damages claim that saw Microsoft ordered to pay France’s Alcatel-Lucent $1.5 billion over patents related to MP3 technology.

Microsoft  has been thrown a lifelline after a federal court appeal was overturned in a damages claim that saw Microsoft  ordered to pay France’s Alcatel-Lucent $1.5 billion over patents related to MP3 technology.

Microsoft called the ruling “a victory for consumers of digital music and a triumph for common sense in the patent system,” while Alcatel-Lucent told CNET it is reviewing its options to determine its next step.

Some had speculated that, had Alcatel-Lucent been successful, it could have opened up many other related technologies to new patent claims. 

In February 2007, a US  jury ruled that Microsoft’s Windows Media Player infringed on a series of Lucent patents and awarded the damages. The MP3 format is used to play music and sound files on computers, mobile phones, and digital-music players. Associated Press reported  that the ruling is “a victory for consumers of digital music and a triumph for common sense in the patent system,” Tom Burt, deputy general counsel for Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft said in an e-mail.

Alcatel-Lucent, formed in 2006 after Alcatel bought Lucent Technologies Inc., claimed Brewster erred in throwing out the verdict. Brewster said in August 2007 that one Alcatel-Lucent patent wasn’t infringed and the second was co-owned by a German research institute that licensed the invention to Microsoft.

Joint ownership with the Fraunhofer Institute was intended, giving Microsoft the right to license the technology, Microsoft’s attorneys had argued before the appeals court in July.

 

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