Microsoft ordered to pay $1.5 billion in MP3 audio patent lawsuit
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Microsoft ordered to pay $1.5 billion in MP3 audio patent lawsuit

In its verdict, the jury assessed damages based on each Windows PC sold since May 2003. The case could have broader implications, should Alcatel-Lucent pursue claims against other companies that use the widespread MP3 technology, says CNET. About half of the damages are for overseas sales of Windows, which could be affected by a separate patent case. That case, currently before the Supreme Court, deals with whether overseas sales of software products should be subject to U.S. patent law.

Microsoft told CNET it believes that it properly licensed MP3 technology from Fraunhofer, paying that company $16 million. Fraunhofer is a German company that for years licensed MP3 technology patents to those who wanted to use the audio format in their products. It has since handed the MP3-licensing duties over to Thomson. The case dates back to 2003, when Lucent sued PC makers Dell and Gateway over their use of the audio technology. Microsoft stepped into the legal fray and has been embroiled in a widening legal battle with Lucent (now Alcatel-Lucent) ever since, notes CNET.

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