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Patent Fun With AlcaLu

1:50 PM -- If the patent lawyers at Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) were thinking of taking a summer break, then they'd best think again.

And they can't say they weren't forewarned. (See AlcaLu Plays the Patents.)

Things were looking good for some summer R&R a few weeks back when a U.S. District Court ruled that Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) must pay AlcaLu $511.6 million for infringing two patents. AlcaLu had originally won the dispute back in April, when it was awarded $368 million in damages. Now Microsoft has been told it needs to pay even more! (See AlcaLu Wins Patent Case.)

AlcaLu was so happy at the decision it assigned pet names to the patents involved. "We are delighted with the court's rulings on Day and Agulnick," said AlcaLu in an emailed statement.

Personally I'd have named them Fifi and Bernard, but that's just me...

"We had always believed we had a strong case and are pleased that the judge agreed that the jury's thoughtful verdict was well reasoned and supported by the evidence presented during the more than month-long trial on these two patents," added the giant equipment vendor.

But that's not the only patent spat between the two firms -- who are partners in the world of IPTV, remember -- because there's still the matter of a $1.5 billion battle to sort out.

Last August, a District Court decided to overturn a ruling that Microsoft had infringed two of AlcaLu's audio compression patents. (See AlcaLu Gobsmacked by Microsoft Ruling.)

Naturally Pat Russo's crew decided to appeal that decision, and now it's back in court -- and this one is so serious there are no pet names involved. "Alcatel-Lucent views its Intellectual Property as a vital asset, and we will continue to protect and defend this asset. Our IP licensing division licenses, protects and maintains our IP, and it also enforces our IP rights." I feel guilty just reading that, and I haven't even done anything (yet)!

Read this report to get the lowdown -- it's quite the complex scenario!

But that's not the end of it! Now AlcaLu is involved in an intellectual property tussle with Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL), with both companies accusing each other of infringements.

It's clearly a job for the legal elite to sort out, so we'll head for the beach and leave them to it...

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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