Appeals court denies Microsoft's Alcatel petition

SEATTLE Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:26pm EST

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SEATTLE Nov 23 (Reuters) - A federal appeals court on Monday rejected Microsoft Corp's (MSFT.O) request that it reconsider the way patents are upheld in court cases, as the software maker continues its long legal battle with French telecoms equipment company Alcatel-Lucent (ALUA.PA).

Microsoft, which infringed an Alcatel-Lucent patent, according to a lower court jury last year, asked the appeals court to hear its argument that a patent could be held invalid if evidence is presented in a court case that was not available at the time the patent was granted.

It also asked that the standard for invalidating a patent should be a "preponderance" of evidence, rather than "clear and convincing" evidence, as it stands now, which would make it easier to invalidate Alcatel-Lucent's patent.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which handles many patent and trademark cases, denied that request on Monday, without any explanation or comment, according to electronic court records.

The decision means that a retrial of the case, ordered by the appeals court earlier this year, will go ahead under the same standards of proof as the original trial.

In September, the appeals court overturned a $358 million damages award against Microsoft saying that Microsoft did infringe a patent, but that damages were not justified and must be retried.

The long-running dispute centers on technology that allows users to enter dates into calendars in Microsoft's Outlook e-mail program, known as the "Day" patent.

The "Day" patent dispute is the last part of a large, long-running, multibillion dollar patent dispute between the two technology firms. The remainder of the litigation was resolved last December.

Microsoft declined comment on the matter. An Alcatel-Lucent representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Reporting by Bill Rigby; editing by Carol Bishopric) ((bill.rigby@thomsonreuters.com; +1 206 418 9236; Reuters Messaging: bill.rigby.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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