Microsoft Corp must pay US$1.5 billion in damages to telecommunications equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent SA for violating two digital music patents, a federal jury ruled on Thursday.
The software company said the patents in question govern the conversion of audio into the digital MP3 file format on personal computers.
In 2003, Lucent Technologies Inc, which last year was acquired by Alcatel, filed 15 patent claims against Gateway Inc and Dell Inc. In April 2003, Microsoft added itself to the list of defendants, saying the patents were closely tied to its Windows operating system. The PC makers are still defendants.
Microsoft said a judge threw out two of the 2003 patent claims, and scheduled six separate trials to consider remaining disputes. The case that was just decided went to trial in San Diego on Jan. 29.
"We think this verdict is completely unsupported by the law or the facts," said Tom Burt, a Microsoft deputy general counsel.
Microsoft disputed that Paris-based Alcatel-Lucent's patents govern its MP3 encoding and decoding tools, and said it licenses the MP3 software used by its Windows Media Player from Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, a German company.
"We believe that we properly licensed MP3 technology from its industry recognized licenser -- Fraunhofer. The damages award seems particularly outrageous when you consider we paid Fraunhofer only US$16 million to license this technology," Burt said.
Microsoft said the damages were calculated by multiplying Windows sales volumes and PC sales prices worldwide since May 2003.
"We've made strong arguments supporting our view, and we are pleased with the court's decision," Alcatel-Lucent spokeswoman Mary Lou Ambrus said.
The court will consider the next of the patent suits, which relates to speech coding, in March or April, Microsoft said. Other areas in dispute include video coding on Microsoft's Xbox game console and Windows' user interface.
From the customer’s perspective, car rental is a straightforward business. The only uncertainty is whether the hire company will charge you for the scratch they discover when you hand back the vehicle. Hertz Global Holdings Inc’s bankruptcy protection filing on Friday last week was a reminder that today even the simplest business models are underpinned by a lot more financial complexity than meets the eye. The proximate cause of Hertz’s demise was of course the sudden collapse in bookings caused by COVID-19 travel restrictions. The company’s monthly revenue last month fell 73 percent year-on-year, a shortfall that even the most resilient
Uber Technologies Inc, Lyft Inc and Airbnb Inc have slashed thousands of jobs. Salesforce.com Inc and Visa Inc are letting employees work remotely for months; Twitter Inc and Square Inc are allowing them to do so for good. For the companies’ hometown of San Francisco, the moves are early signs of a dire blow. In a city with a long history of booms, busts and natural calamities, the COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly upended nearly a decade of prosperity. While municipalities across the US are grappling with economic fallout from the virus, San Francisco stands to take a deeper hit given its high
BULK PURCHASE: The French chain and Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International reached a deal covering 224 stores, which is expected to be finalized by year’s end Carrefour SA yesterday announced it would acquire Wellcome Taiwan Co (惠康百貨) for 97 million euros (US$108.33 million), and bring all the Wellcome supermarkets (頂好超市) and Jasons Market Place stores nationwide under its banner within 12 months of the deal closing. The France-based hypermarket chain reached an agreement with Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International Holdings (牛奶國際控股), the pan-Asian retailer that launched Wellcome Taiwan in 1987. The transaction involves 199 Wellcome supermarkets, which have average sales areas of 420m2 and 25 high-end Jasons Market Place stores, which have an average sales area of 820m2, as well as a warehouse in Taoyuan, Carrefour Taiwan (家樂福)
‘ONE-STOP SHOP’: A Miaoli official said that the factory in the Jhunan section of the Hsinchu Science Park would create more than 1,000 jobs and boost prosperity A new high-end IC packaging and testing plant planned by contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) in Miaoli County is expected to start operations in the middle of next year, Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) said. Hsu wrote on Facebook that TSMC, the world’s largest pure wafer foundry operator, would invest NT$303.2 billion (US$10.1 billion) to build the plant, the largest-ever single investment in Taiwan. However, TSMC declined to disclose the financial terms of the deal, while a company board meeting on May 12 approved a spending plan worth NT$168.2 billion as part of its investment plans. Construction of the