Judge rules for Microsoft in Alcatel-Lucent suit

SEATTLE Fri Mar 2, 2007 2:26pm EST

A technician of Alcatel works on a satellite in Cannes, southeastern France March 9, 2006. A U.S. federal judge dismissed Alcatel-Lucent's patent claim against Microsoft Corp. over technology that converts speech into text, the two companies said on Friday. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

A technician of Alcatel works on a satellite in Cannes, southeastern France March 9, 2006. A U.S. federal judge dismissed Alcatel-Lucent's patent claim against Microsoft Corp. over technology that converts speech into text, the two companies said on Friday.

Credit: Reuters/Eric Gaillard

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SEATTLE (Reuters) - A U.S. federal judge dismissed Alcatel-Lucent's ALU.PA(ALU.N) patent claim against Microsoft Corp. (MSFT.O) over technology that converts speech into text, the two companies said on Friday.

The ruling made late Thursday comes one week after a jury found that the world's largest software maker infringed on audio patents held by Alcatel-Lucent and ordered the company to pay $1.52 billion in damages.

U.S. District Judge Rudi Brewster in San Diego dismissed all of Alcatel-Lucent's claims in a summary judgment, meaning that the jury trial set to begin on March 19 will not take place. Alcatel-Lucent said it plans to appeal the ruling.

"We've made strong arguments supporting our view," said Alcatel-Lucent spokeswoman Joan Campion. "We're comfortable with our chances of success."

Microsoft and Alcatel-Lucent are locked in a number of patent disputes including a suit over the video-coding technology in Microsoft's Xbox 360 video game console.

"This ruling reaffirms our confidence that once there's judicial review of these complex patent cases, these Alcatel-Lucent claims ultimately won't stand up," said Tom Burt, Microsoft's deputy general counsel.

Last week's $1.52 billion award for Alcatel-Lucent was the largest ever in a U.S. patent case. The award is expected to fuel a push by computer and software makers to overhaul the U.S. patent system.

Microsoft has said it plans to ask a judge to knock down the award and will appeal if necessary.

(Additional reporting by Sinead Carew in New York)

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