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Microsoft bites back in billion dollar MP3 dispute

February 23rd, 2007 · No Comments

Microsoft says that it will appeal a US Federal Court order to pay 1.52 billion dollars in an MP3 patent dispute with Alcatel-Lucent, claiming that the verdict against it is “unsupported by the law or facts.”
The ruling is a victory for Alcatel-Lucent which claims ownership of two key patents, via Bell Labs. If the verdict is upheld, the impact on the digital music industry could be huge, with all makers of MP3 playback hardware and software possibly forced to make back-dated royalties to Alcatel.
Currently, Microsoft and others pay loyalties to the Fraunhofer Institute, which along with Thomson, helped develop the bit-reduction audio technology. Alacatel says it (as Bell Labs) developed the key patents before teaming with Fraunhofer.
Microsoft argues that one of the featured patents is not relevant to its software, and that the second is covered by an existing license agreement. Microsoft obtained the rights to use MP3 technology by paying a consortium led by Thomson a flat fee of 16 million dollars. If the case does go to appeal, it could take several years to resolve.

Tags: Hi-fi · Internet and networking · Trade

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