Microsoft Trains Legal Guns on Lucent

Microsoft is turning its legal guns on telecom gear
maker Lucent Technologies in an attempt to puncture
lawsuits that Lucent recently aimed at two of Microsoft’s largest
customers.

The Redmond-based software titan filed suit in a federal court in San Diego
Tuesday in an attempt to invalidate 13 patents developed by Lucent’s Bell
Laboratories — patents which Lucent has accused Dell Computer and Gateway of violating.

Lucent spokesman Bill Price told internetnews.com that the patents
cover technologies for audio and video coding, video displays and
touch-screen capabilities.

Microsoft’s suit is the latest in an escalating series of patent skirmishes
with Lucent. ThinkFire, an intellectual
property firm which helps Lucent look for licensing opportunities, lobbed the first
volley in January when it sent Microsoft a letter requesting that it
license 16 patents which it said belonged to Lucent, according to The
Wall Street Journal
.


ThinkFire claimed the patents are key to a broad swathe of Microsoft’s
products and impact about $9 billion of current Microsoft sales.


While Microsoft met with ThinkFire, the company concluded that it didn’t need to license the patents, the Journal said.

Not content to sit on its laurels, Lucent fired back with the suits against Gateway and Dell in February. The firms, believing that the suits were sparked by technologies it licenses from Microsoft, asked the Redmond-based software titan to indemnify them.

“Since the beginning, we’ve always taken efforts to maximize the value of our intellectual property,” Price told internetnews.com. “We’ve done this with licensing agreements with many, many companies over the life of Lucent and Bell Labs.”

He added, “We’re simply asking for a fair and reasonable compensation for
the use of our IP. Each year we invest billions of dollars in R&D, and we
seek a fair return on that investment. We hope to reach a fair resolution
in this matter.”

Microsoft could not immediately be reached for comment.

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