Back in February, a jury told Microsoft to pay Alcatel-Lucent $1.5 billion
for supposedly violating some patents Alcatel-Lucent held on MP3 technology. The case helped highlight the patent thicket around MP3 technologies
, as Microsoft had licensed the technology from the creator of the MP3 technology, Fraunhofer. Back in May, as the judge was considering what to do about the jury's award, Alcatel-Lucent actually claimed that $1.5 billion wasn't enough
. It appears the judge not only didn't buy that story, but didn't buy the jury's reasoning either. Today he threw out the jury's ruling
, noting that Microsoft doesn't even infringe on one of the patents in question, and the other one is jointly owned by Fraunhofer, and therefore Microsoft has a legitimate license to it already. As the judge said, "The jury's verdict was against the clear weight of the evidence." As you might imagine, Alcatel-Lucent is not happy about this, calling the ruling "shocking and disturbing." So, there is likely going to be a long appeals process. However, this is the second time in recent weeks that we're seeing courts take a more reasonable approach on patents
. Hopefully, it's the start of a trend.