Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) scored a win in its long-running patent dispute with Alcatel-Lucent on Monday, when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruled that Alcatel-Lucent's claims on a disputed patent were invalid. A year ago, a jury awarded Alcatel-Lucent $358 million on the finding that Microsoft had infringed the patent, which deals with touch-screen form entry. Microsoft appealed.
The case is the final one remaining among seven patent lawsuits the two companies have been fighting since 2002. In February 2007, a federal jury issued a $1.52 billion verdict against Microsoft in one of the cases, over rights to MP3 digital music technology, although a judge later threw out the verdict. Microsoft and Alcatel-Lucent settled that lawsuit, as well as six others last fall.
In a statement circulated to reporters, Microsoft said Monday's ruling would "significantly bolster its arguments." A Microsoft spokesman said, "We are confident the Federal Circuit will agree with the Patent Office that the ... patent is invalid and will reverse the lower court's ruling." A spokeswoman for Alcatel-Lucent told Bloomberg News: "This latest action does not necessarily conclude the re-examination process. ... Alcatel-Lucent does have additional procedures available to it at the Patent Office that we intend to pursue."
By Joseph Tartakoff