A judge in a San Diego court late Thursday dismissed one of several patent claims Alcatel-Lucent has made against Microsoft in several high-profile cases against the vendor, but that does not mean the software company is out of the woods yet.
According to Microsoft spokesman Jack Evans, a judge in the U.S. District Court in San Diego ruled that Microsoft does not infringe a patent for speech-recognition technology asserted by Alcatel-Lucent.
This is the only patent that was to be considered during a second trial in the series of claims, which had been scheduled in San Diego on March 19, he said. That trial has now been canceled.
Last week, a jury in the first of what had been six separate patent-infringement cases ordered Microsoft to pay US$1.5 billion in damages to Alcatel-Lucent for infringing on patents for MP3 encoding and decoding technology.
It was believed to be the largest patent-infringement damages award in history in the case that then-Lucent Technologies first filed against Microsoft and partners Dell and Gateway in 2003. Many believe the decision could put other companies that use MP3 technology at risk for patent-infringement claims from Alcatel-Lucent.
The next case dealing with Alcatel-Lucent’s patent-infringement claims, which focuses on user-interface technology and lists Microsoft, Dell and Gateway as defendants, is scheduled to be held May 21, Evans said. Three other trials on Alcatel-Lucent patent-infringement claims will follow this year, with Microsoft being listed as defendants in two of those.
The Alcatel-Lucent suit is not the only major patent case Microsoft is dealing with. Microsoft presented opening arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court last week in a six-year patent dispute with AT&T.
-Elizabeth Montalbano, IDG News Service (New York Bureau)
Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.