Microsoft's Alcatel Appeal Denied by U.S. Supreme Court

Microsoft finds its appeal in a patent-infringement case with Alcatel-Lucent turned down by the Supreme Court. A previous ruling by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit had upheld the verdict against Microsoft but overturned a $358 million judgment. Alcatel-Lucent says it intends to continue the legal battle in San Diego district court, where it hopes to secure a sizable monetary judgment.

Microsoft suffered a setback May 24 in its long-running patent-infringement dispute with Alcatel-Lucent, when the Supreme Court declined to hear the software giant's appeal. A previous ruling, delivered by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, had upheld the verdict against Microsoft but overturned a $358 million judgment.

"We are pleased, but not surprised, that the Supreme Court rejected Microsoft's appeal in this case and left intact the jury decision in the federal appeals court that our Day patent is valid and that Microsoft infringes it," Alcatel-Lucent spokesperson Mary Ward said in a May 24 statement to Reuters. "We look forward to the upcoming trial in San Diego district court to determine the compensation to which Alcatel-Lucent is entitled based on Microsoft's infringement."

A Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment to eWEEK.

The patent at issue involves touch-screen form entry technology, which Alcatel-Lucent argues was violated by Microsoft Outlook. During previous legal maneuvers, Microsoft insisted that the technology played no part in Outlook's e-mail function, while Alcatel-Lucent claimed the contrary. The first verdict found Microsoft in violation of the patent; in September 2009, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit allowed the original verdict against Microsoft to stand, but with the stipulation that the damages associated with the violation-$358 million-would need to be recalculated.

"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 at the time, according to Bloomberg News.

Microsoft and Alcatel-Lucent have a somewhat acrimonious history when it comes to legal battles. In February 2007, a San Diego jury awarded Alcatel-Lucent about $1.52 billion in a dispute with Microsoft over two MP3-related patents. Microsoft argued that its use of the technology was covered under a license, and the ruling was eventually overturned.

Microsoft finds itself embroiled in other high-profile legal action at the moment. In addition to an intellectual-property lawsuit leveled against cloud-based applications provider, Microsoft is still battling a patent-infringement lawsuit from Toronto-based i4i. On May 17, Microsoft announced it would pay $200 million to settle a patent-infringement suit from VirnetX, which builds communication and collaboration technology.