updated 03:30 pm EDT, Fri September 11, 2009
Alcatel's $358m MS damages seen excessive
Microsoft today claimed a partial victory in its ongoing patent disputes with Alcatel-Lucent. Judges for the US Federal Court of Appeals overturned a $358 million award given to Alcatel for Microsoft's alleged infringing of a patent through a calendar grid feature in Windows Mobile, Money and Outlook. The officials maintained that Microsoft had still violated the patent but that the monetary damages didn't relate to the actual damage to Alcatel's business and that Alcatel hadn't provided the necessary proof.
In its defense, Microsoft had argued that the feature was worth $6.5 million. Representative Kevin Kutz said the company was "pleased" with the results.
Alcatel said it was "disappointed" with the decision.
The reversal is the latest in a series of legal salvos fired by both of the companies. Alcatel filed multiple lawsuits agains Microsoft in November of 2006 claiming that some of its more generic technology was illegally copied, including MP3 format use and the Xbox. Most of the dispute was resolved in December of last year and has more than once involved overturned damages.
Despite the reach of the involved technology, Alcatel hasn't paid significant attention to other successful companies that use calendar grids, MP3s, video rendering or other techniques, such as Apple.