Patent Law

Record Patent Award Overturned

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A federal judge has overturned a $1.5 billion judgment against Microsoft that is one of the largest amounts ever awarded in a patent infringement suit.

Alcatel-Lucent had obtained the award in a suit claiming that Microsoft had infringed two patents for the MP3 format for copying digital music files, the New York Times reports. Microsoft had instead licensed the technology for its Windows Media Player from a European consortium.

Judge Rudi Brewster of San Diego ruled that Alcatel didn’t have the rights to one patent and hadn’t proved that Microsoft used technology covered by the other patent, the Los Angeles Times reports. The newspaper says the ruling removes the threat of liability for hundreds of companies that use the MP3 format.

Alcatel-Lucent vowed to appeal.

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