Judge approves Microsoft MP3 patent damages
A US judge has approved a jury’s decision to award Alcatel-Lucent $1.52 billion after it ruled that Microsoft had infringed an audio technology patent.
District Court Judge Rudi M Brewster in San Diego rejected Microsoft’s request that he reduce the amount of damages awarded in February, after the jury decided that Microsoft had infringed an Alcatel-Lucent patent by providing MP3 support in Windows Media Player.
Microsoft, like other companies that provide MP3 playback and encoding, had licensed the technology from Germany’s Fraunhofer institute, which it described as ‘the industry-recognised rightful licensor’. In fact, several organisations lay claim to patents related to compression and encoding techniques used in the MP3 format.
Microsoft plans to appeal the ruling in light of the US Supreme Court decision this week that US patents do not apply in other countries.
For its part, Alcatel-Lucent has yet to reveal whether it intends to pursue claims against other companies that believe they have MP3 licences. If it does, then Apple would be the obvious target given that after Windows Media Player, iTunes is the most widely used application for MP3 encoding and playback.