Microsoft Wins 'Other' Patent Battle
Given that most of the talk about patents in the last eight or nine months
around Microsoft and Linux
, you might have forgotten about the patent case
that was going to completely reshape the world as we knew it: Alcatel-Lucent's
patent case versus Microsoft
Well, it was successful -- until this week, that is. A U.S. District Court
judge in San Diego this week laid a big "I don't think so" on a ruling
that would have required
Microsoft to fork $1.5 billion over to Alcatel-Lucent for patent infringement.
And just like that, the French company's dreams of suing everybody who ever
released an MP3 or made a portable-music player -- as well as of filling its
coffers with a billion-plus of Microsoft's dollars -- came to an end.
The judge's ruling -- never mind the jury's ruling, we suppose, which he seems
to pretty much have overturned -- is partly based on technicalities and partly
based on his opinion that Microsoft, in fact, did not infringe on one of the
patents in question. But we wonder (on rather a hazy and lazy summer afternoon
when we should probably be thinking about something else) whether Microsoft
has in any way shown the open source folks the path to quashing patent-infringement
Or maybe, if nothing else, Redmond has shown how hard it actually is to win
a patent case as the plaintiff, despite some relatively recent and, in the famous
BlackBerry case, high-profile decisions. Maybe the Alcatel-Lucent case has
nothing to do with anything at all, but we'd be at least amused by the coincidence
if Microsoft took some of the bite out of its Linux patent racketeering by winning
a high-profile patent case as a defendant.
Tomorrow we'll run some reader feedback, so if you want to comment on this
or any other recent entry, shoot me an e-mail at email@example.com.
Posted by Lee Pender on August 08, 2007 at 11:54 AM