A $358 million judgment leveled against Microsoft in a patent infringement case is overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Alcatel-Lucent had argued that Microsoft Outlook violated its patent for touch-screen form entry technology. Alcatel-Lucent was awarded $1.52 billion in February 2007 in a previous case involving the two companies, but that ruling was eventually overturned.
finally received some good news in one of its high-profile legal battles on
Sept. 11, with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington
overturning a $358 million judgment leveled against the software maker in a
patent infringement case involving Alcatel-Lucent.
The original verdict, which found that Microsoft Outlook
violated Alcatel-Lucent's patent for touch-screen form entry technology, was
allowed to stand. However, the original trial court was asked to recalculate
the damages associated with the violation.
"The damages award ought to be correlated, in some
respect, to the extent the infringing method is used by consumers," wrote
Chief Judge Paul Michel, according to Bloomberg.
Microsoft argued in the case that the technology in question
played no part in Outlook's e-mail function. For its part, Alcatel-Lucent
argued that touch-screen form entry was vital to Outlook, and that it was owed
$685 million from sales of the application.
This is not the first high-profile case between the two
companies. In February 2007, a San Diego
Alcatel-Lucent a staggering $1.52 billion
in a patent dispute with Microsoft.
Alcatel-Lucent argued in that previous case that two of its MP3-related patents
had been violated, although Microsoft argued that its use of the technology was
covered under a license.
The ruling in that case ended up being overturned. A little
over a year later, however, Microsoft found itself hit again on the
patent-violation front by Alcatel-Lucent, which now argued that Microsoft
Outlook violated its technology patent. The original verdict against Microsoft
was handed down in April 2008.
Microsoft also finds itself embroiled in another patent infringement
lawsuit, this one leveled against it by i4i, a small Canadian company that
argues its XML-related patent is
violated by Microsoft Word. The original verdict in that case, handed down in
August, would have forced
Microsoft to pull copies of Word from store shelves
within 60 days and pay
i4i nearly $300 million in fines.
However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled on Sept. 3
that Microsoft could continue selling Word for the duration of the case. Since
then, Microsoft and i4i have been submitting briefs and counter-briefs arguing
their respective positions, with two major companies in Microsoft's ecosystem,
Dell and Hewlett-Packard, also filing friend-of-the-court briefs in the case.