Alcatel-Lucent loses $1.5bn MP3 patent claim against MS
US court ditches appeal
Microsoft will not have to pay Alcatel-Lucent $1.5bn in damages, after a lower court threw out the jury’s verdict in a fight over MP3 patents.
The software giant yesterday successfully convinced the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that Microsoft shouldn’t be required to cough up damages to Alcatel-Lucent, which is the world’s largest telecoms equipment supplier.
In February 2007 a court in San Diego ordered MS to pay Alcatel-Lucent $1.5bn for infringing the French company's MP3 technology in Windows. Then in August last year Microsoft saw the ruling overturned.
Judge Rudi Brewster rejected the jury's damages to Alcatel-Lucent for supposed patent infringment of digital music standards. He described the jury's decision as "against the weight of evidence".
The case involved Microsoft's use of two patents relating to MP3 music formats.
Brewster ruled at the time that one of the patents was not in fact infringed by Microsoft, and that ownership of the second patent was questionable. Therefore he overturned the jury's award of $1.5bn damages.
Yesterday the US appeals court agreed with Brewster’s earlier ruling. "We affirm the lower court's grant of JMOL (judgment as a matter of law) based on lack of standing for one patent and based on non-infringement for the other patent," the court said, according to Reuters.
The original action pitted Lucent Technologies, which merged with Alcatel SA in 2006, against computer vendors Gateway and Dell over 15 patent claims. Microsoft later stepped in and took on sole responsibility because of potential obligations to reimburse the PC makers for damages they would have to pay.
An Alcatel-Lucent spokeswoman told Reuters: "We are disappointed with the court's decision on this matter... We will review our options to see what steps we should take." ®
@ American system
"The American system works like this: American company sues foreign company in the USA, American company wins. Foreign company sues American company in the USA, American company wins. It's a simply, effective system that helps American companies keep the upper hand."
just another standard implementation of the American dream(tm) which coincidentally is going down the shitter as we speak....
The American system works like this: American company sues foreign company in the USA, American company wins. Foreign company sues American company in the USA, American company wins. It's a simply, effective system that helps American companies keep the upper hand.
This is then helped along by a completely hobbled patent office that isn't allowed to do its job, but instead has to pass all sorts of idiotic and crooked patents. This then helps the American court system make lots of money having these patents fought over. Everyone gets rich. Except of course those pesky foreign companies.
You obviously don't understand the judicial system at all
If the first trial was before a lower court judge in front of a jury it's easily possible that errors were made at many levels.
These would then be appealed to higher and higher court levels where there are no juries, but only judges in attendance (who may, or may not, have a better understanding of the level of grievance and law than the lower court(s)).
So it's sometimes easy to sway a jury of relatively ignorant (ie, not knowing law OR technology) folks and get the resulting decision ALL WRONG (see Jammie and her former potential payment as proof) and then have the whole shebang overturned.
Paris, 'cuz i'd like to overturn her.
Why cant "???" be a title ????
If a Judge can arbitrarily overturn a Jury's verdict, what is the point of having a Jury???
The judge should have halted the trial if he thought there was no case to answer, long before it got to the point of damages being assessed.
The legal system shoots itself in the foot once again.
RE: I thought
1) The average jurist is incompetent to develop an informed judgement. If you don't believe that go look at the outcome of the original OJ Simpson trial or at the number of people being released after 20+ years in prison due to exhoneration based on DNA evidence. Jurists make decisions based on emotion and gut belief in one lawyer over another. The more people released from prison after 20+ years, the more I believe the jury system is broken.
2) You are ignoring the real issues of the inadequacy of the patent system as it applies to this judgement. The patent system was originally developed based on a pretty simple model of the world involving the production of physical goods. In my opinion, the origination of intellectual property in today's world of software is a lot more difficult to establish and the patent system is broken.
I am completely at a loss over your statement "If the Judgement was wrong, then the appeal should only be on the $1.5Bn damages." If the judgement was wrong then there should be no damages, right? You can only have damages if the judgement is/was that there was infrigement...
As I recall the article says that the judge indicated that the jury's decision was "against the weight of evidence". I'm more inclined to believe that a judge's opinion (which was reviewed and upheld by a higher court) is more reliable than a Jury's (when said jury probably had no formal legal training - or they would most likely never have made it past jury selection).
Maybe I'm missing something really obvious here, but if one patent was not even infringed and the other was questionably received in the first place, why the angst? It really sounds like you are still sore over the hyperlink decision - if so then bitch about that because this one seems like a no brainer. (Of course I'm going to say you are a little disingenous: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2000/09/15/film_evidence_challenges_bts_claim/)
Pirates because patents should be given a good broadside and then the ole' heave ho'.