updated 02:45 pm EDT, Wed April 23, 2008
Xbox in Alcatel Lawsuit
Alcatel-Lucent today began court proceedings for the next of its lawsuits against Microsoft. The plaintiff argues in its complaint that Microsoft's Xbox game systems violate a 1993 patent relating to the code for generating video frames. The US/French partnership says that it will use its jury trial to demand $1.50 for every alleged misuse of the patent but is not yet clear as to which uses apply to the suit. The suit could potentially apply to each Xbox sold before the conclusion of the trial.
Microsoft disputes the claim by referring to prior art as well as secrecy from Alcatel-Lucent, which purportedly hid some of the relevant information from the US Patent Office. The Xbox maker also says that four fifths of the claim applies to video frames in Windows Media Player, which is available as a separate, free download and so wouldn't generate royalties for Alcatel-Lucent.
The suits have largely weighed in favor of Alcatel-Lucent so far but have proven less than profitable. The plaintiff earned $368 million from a suit over touchscreen technology earlier this month but saw a $1.5 billion reversal of a verdict in another suit relating to MP3 audio. The suits all stem from a series of lawsuits filed in 2002 that were restructured and separated by technologies.
Microsoft has also filed a countersuit against Alcatel-Lucent and accuses the latter of violating nine patents relating to interfaces and messages on both computers and fax machines.