US Supreme Court considers Microsoft appeal

The US Supreme Court agreed to consider an appeal by software maker Microsoft in a dispute over whether the company should be liable for damages overseas for infringing a software patent owned by AT&T, a Reuters report said.

The report said the high court granted Microsoft's petition to review a US appeals court ruling that stated that AT&T could seek royalties based on the foreign manufacture and sale of infringing software products.

A ruling last year upheld a US lower court decision that Microsoft was liable for infringing an AT&T patent for converting speech into computer code in copies of Windows sold overseas, the report said.

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said the world's largest software maker was liable for the unauthorized distribution of codec technology, used to compress speech signals into data, in copies of Windows overseas, according to the report.

A year earlier, Microsoft settled most of AT&T's outstanding claims, and both agreed to appeal the unresolved issue over the distribution of the technology overseas, for which Microsoft said it was not liable.

The US Supreme Court did not comment further on its decision to grant the review, except to say that Chief Justice John Roberts did not participate in the decision, the Reuters report said.