Skip to main content

$1.5bn ruling against Microsoft overturned

A judge has thrown out a $1.5bn patent infringement ruling against Microsoft

Microsoft has succeeded in overturning a $1.5 billion (£750 million) federal court ruling related to MP3 technology patents held by Alcatel-Lucent .

On Monday, a US federal district court judge threw out the original verdict and record-breaking patent infringement award against Microsoft. It was the result of a case brought by Alcatel-Lucent involving the origins of the MP3 digital audio standard.

A San Diego judge ruled in February that Microsoft had infringed two patents held by Alcatel-Lucent relating to the MP3 format and made the $1.5 billion award. However, following an appeal, US District Judge Rudi Brewster ruled that verdict could not stand because Microsoft had not violated one of the patents.

He also questioned whether the second patent had been violated by Microsoft, which had licensed the technology from a co-owner of the patent, German research company Fraunhofer Gesellschaft.

"Today's ruling by the judge reversing the jury's $1.52 billion verdict against Microsoft is a victory for consumers of digital music and a triumph for common sense in the patent system," Reuters quoted Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel as saying.

Alcatel-Lucent spokesperson Mary Lou Ambrus described the decision as "shocking and disturbing" and confirmed that Alcatel-Lucent was planning to appeal against Judge Brewster's ruling. "We still have a strong case, and we believe we will prevail on appeal," she said.