Alcatel-Lucent SA is demanding billions of dollars from technology that Microsoft Corp invented, a lawyer for the software company told jurors in California on Friday.
The jury of seven women and one man began deliberations on Friday afternoon in US District Court in San Diego, California, to determine whether Microsoft and Dell Inc should have to pay US$1.75 billion to Alcatel-Lucent, which claims four of its patents were infringed.
The patents were owned by Lucent Technologies Inc, which Alcatel SA acquired in 2006. Lucent sued in 2002 claiming infringement of patents for computer-video coding used in digital television, DVDs and video games, a method for entering data on computer forms, and the use of a stylus.
"Lucent is asking for billions of dollars in this case based on our technology," Microsoft lawyer Juanita Brooks said in her summation. "They want our success to turn into their success, and it's not right."
Closing arguments started on Thursday before US District Judge Marilyn Huff. The jury will resume deliberations today.
Alcatel-Lucent, the world's largest supplier of telecommunications equipment, is seeking about US$1.29 billion from Microsoft, US$340.6 million from Dell, and another US$125 million that would be split by the two companies. The trial began on Feb. 20.
The companies should be responsible for infringing products they didn't directly profit from, Alcatel-Lucent claims.
"Microsoft takes our invention, gives them away for free and says they don't owe us anything," John Desmarais, a lawyer for Alcatel-Lucent, told the jury in rebuttal arguments on Friday.
Huff instructed the jury of the law, and began the day by dismissing a ninth juror who was ill.
Dell claims Alcatel-Lucent waited too long to sue and didn't file proper notices of infringement. Dell is also seeking US$32 million from Alcatel-Lucent in a counterclaim.
Lucent initially sued computer makers Dell and Gateway Inc. Microsoft then sued Lucent, concerned that it might have to reimburse Dell in the case because the dispute relates to features within the Microsoft Windows operating system installed on Dell PCs.
Microsoft also filed counterclaims that the Lucent patents aren't valid and challenging other patents held by the company. Gateway, now owned by Taipei-based Acer Inc, settled with Alcatel-Lucent in February.
The trial is the second stemming from a package of claims and counterclaims that US District Judge Rudi Brewster in San Diego split into five separate cases based on types of technology.
In February last year, a San Diego jury ruled in the first case to come to trial that Microsoft's Windows Media Player infringed Lucent patents related to the MP3 digital-audio standard and awarded Alcatel-Lucent a then-record US$1.52 billion in damages.
Brewster threw out the verdict in August, finding that one of the two patents wasn't infringed and that Microsoft had a valid license for the second one. Alcatel-Lucent is appealing.
The current jury must also decide on Microsoft's contention that Alcatel-Lucent wrongly set up a trust just before the Lucent merger to hold some patents, violating an agreement to share the inventions as part of a licensing pool.
Alcatel-Lucent's American depositary receipts, each representing one ordinary share, rose US$0.03 to US$5.64 on Friday in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Microsoft fell US$0.14 to US$27.91 in NASDAQ Stock Market trading. Dell rose US$0.14 to US$19.61.
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