Alcatel-Lucent to file appeal on Microsoft patent row

Alcatel-Lucent would appeal a US court decision overturning a verdict ordering Microsoft to pay the French-US telecom equipment maker $1.5 billion for infringing its patents, an AFP report said.

'We are going to appeal this surprising decision,' a spokesman, quoted by the AFP report, said, noting that a US jury had in February unanimously found Microsoft, the world's biggest software company, to be in breach of Alcatel's patents and had as a result imposed the record fine.

On Monday, US Senior District Court Judge Rudi Brewster, who handled Microsoft's appeal of the jury trial's decision, issued a written ruling 'in favor of Microsoft and against Lucent "&brkbar; terminating the case,' the AFP report said.

The AFP report quoted Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith as saying that Brewster's ruling was 'a victory for consumers of digital music and a triumph for common sense in the patent system.'

The original trial that ended in the US District Court in the California city of San Diego in February centered on MP3 audio technology used in the Windows Media Player software.

Alcatel-Lucent argued that technology used to encode and decode digital audio files in Media Player infringed two of its patents, the report said.

Microsoft said that it had paid Munich-based licensing firm Fraunhofer Gesellschaft $16 million to legally use the disputed MP3 technology.

In his ruling, Brewster concluded that the US software giant did not infringe one of the patents and that Fraunhofer Gesellschaft would need to join Alcatel-Lucent's infringement suit for further action in court.

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