Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Lucent sues Microsoft concerning XBox

Lucent Technologies, soon to be part of French concern Alcatel, has filed suit against Microsoft Corp. for patent infringement over technology used in its Xbox 360 game console.

At the center of the dispute is Patent No. 5,227,878, "Adaptive Coding and Decoding of Frames and Fields of Video." Lucent claims Microsoft is using its patented technology in the Xbox 360's built-in MPEG-2 decoding capability. MPEG-2 is the latest industry standard for encoding video found on DVDs.

There was previous litigation over the '878 patent; a judge last year granted summary judgment in Microsoft's favor because of a typographical error in the patent.

Lucent has since corrected the error with the USPTO and received an official patent correction notice, according to the most recent court filing.

One commenter on the macworld story stated:

Well, at the very least, I imagine the lawyer who left that typo in the original patent document got fired.

A different commenter effectively noted the "troll-like" behavior of Lucent:

a company like Lucent makes most of its money from its patented products being licensed or paid for somehow by others who use it in their products.
A company like MS makes money by trying to screw other companies as long as and hard as possible until a court says no, and even then...

Query: is Lucent like NTP or MercExchange when it enforces a patent (whose claims cover no product of Lucent) against someone who does make a product allegedly falling within the scope of the claims?

Separately, while Lucent and Microsoft are getting ready to spar, one notes that P&G and Coke are settling. According to an AP report:

Procter & Gamble Co. has settled a lawsuit against Coca-Cola Co. that claimed the beverage maker was using P&G's patented technology that adds calcium to fruit juices. The lawsuit, filed in May 2002, said Coca-Cola's Minute Maid juice division was violating P&G's 1988 patent. P&G said that it had exclusively licensed the patented technology to Tropicana Products Inc., a division of Pepsi-Co Inc.


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