Alcatel-Lucent has successfully claimed in court that Microsoft owes it a massive payout of $1.52bn due to patent infringement of the MP3 audio codec format. A-L insist that they co-developed the technology with German research organisation Fraunhofer Institute, giving them the right to license the technology to any company wishing to incorporate MP3 into their software.
Software like Windows Media Player, for example. Microsoft, alongside many other companies, including Real Networks and Apple, quite reasonably thought that a license from Fraunhofer was all they needed to legally put the MP3 coding / decoding functionality into their software.
Not so, according to the court.
Microsoft are likely to appeal, and in a statemnent said, “We think this verdict is completely unsupported by the law or the facts. We will seek relief from the trial court, and if necessary appeal.”
If Microsoft lose, it could give A-L the impetus to go after other companies, with massive payouts likely. Microsoft continued, “We contend that there was no infringement of any kind and that we have paid the appropriate license fees for any technology that is used in our products.”