Fallout From Alcatel-Lucent's Patent Nuclear War With Microsoft Continues

from the be-careful-who-you-launch-against dept

Part of the conventional wisdom in having tech companies apply for lots of patents is that they're helpful as a "defensive" mechanism against other companies filing patent lawsuits against you. It's the nuclear stockpiling argument that suggests (without much proof) that the more patents everyone holds, the less likely actual patent litigation will result. That doesn't seem to be happening, though, as we see more and more patent "nuclear wars" happening. For example, Alcatel-Lucent went after Microsoft on a questionable patent concerning MP3 technology. While Alcatel-Lucent initially won that battle to the tune of $1.5 billion, everything's gone down hill since then. First, Microsoft hit back at Alcatel-Lucent, dredging up a bunch of patents it claimed the company was violating. Then, a judge overturned the $1.5 billion ruling. Now, Microsoft's patent attack on Alcatel-Lucent has succeeded, as a judge at the US International Trade Commission (yes, Microsoft is also using the popular loophole in patent law here) has determined that Alcatel-Lucent has infringed, suggesting that its products be barred from the US. While this seems like a silly ruling, it does show how if you're going to play the game of accusing companies of patent infringement, you might get burned yourself.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: nuclear war, patents
Companies: alcatel-lucent, microsoft

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Wrong Target, 31 Jan 2008 @ 5:56am

    Who you gonna call

    I think the original rational for filing patents for everything wasn't really to protect themselves from other legitimate enterprises. I believe the real objective is to shield themselves from patent trolls. Unfortunately, legal council convince these companies that failing to pursue patent infringement has greater risk than the chance of losing a case or getting a judgement overturned on appeal.

    This situation has a cascading because each side is getting the same legal advice.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord

The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...

Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.