US court finds against Microsoft in MP3 patent violation

Microsoft has been slapped with a $1.52bn fine following a US ruling that it was in violation of patents held by French company Alcatel-Lucent.

The Federal District Court finding in favour of Alcatel-Lucent could have far reaching consequences with potentially hundreds of firms that use the MP3 format technology.

Microsoft have launched an appeal against the finding claiming that it had paid $16m for the licence to use the MP3 technology to the Fraunhofer Institute.

The MP3 format is used to perceptually encode music into small files that can be sent over the internet and stored on compact music players.

The Alcatel action was acquired as part of the merger with Lucent which was already disputing MP3 rights with Microsoft.

The finding potentially opens the door to other cases against all the companies that purchased similar rights from Fraunhoefer.


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