Microsoft to Appeal $367M Patent Ruling

SEATTLE (AP) -- A jury on Friday ordered Microsoft Corp. to pay $367.4 million to Alcatel-Lucent for infringing on two patents, a decision the software maker vowed to appeal.

The U.S. District Court jury in San Diego found that handwriting recognition technology in Microsoft's Tablet PC operating system infringed on pattern recognition patents held by Paris-based Alcatel-Lucent.

The jury also decided that some of Microsoft's programs, including the Outlook e-mail application and the Windows Mobile operating system, infringed on an Alcatel-Lucent patent in the way users select calendar dates from a menu.

"We do not believe the jury's verdict against Microsoft on the two user interface patents is supported by the facts or the law," said Tom Burt, a deputy general counsel at Microsoft, in a statement. "We will move immediately to have the two verdicts against Microsoft overturned."

Microsoft, however, was found not to have infringed on a video decoding patent related to the way the Windows operating system plays DVDs.

Alcatel-Lucent spokeswoman Mary Lou Ambrus said the company was disappointed with the video patent decision.

The case decided Friday was just one of many stemming from 15 patent claims made in 2003 by Lucent Technologies Inc. against PC makers Gateway Inc. and Dell Inc. for technology developed by Bell Labs, Lucent's research arm. Alcatel bought Lucent in 2006.

In 2003, Microsoft added itself to the list of defendants to protect its PC-maker partners, saying the patents were closely tied to its Windows operating system.

A judge threw out two of the 2003 patent claims and scheduled six separate trials to consider the remaining disputes, in which the PC makers remain defendants. Those were later condensed into four trials.

One of the remaining trials is scheduled to begin April 22 in San Diego. At that time, Microsoft said it will also make nine of its own patent claims against Alcatel-Lucent.

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