Microsoft hit by patent suit

Following Microsoft's allegations over Linux patents, the software giant is now accused of intellectual property infringement by Alcatel

Just days after Microsoft fell out with Novell over its allegation that Linux contains its intellectual property, the software giant has become embroiled in another patent dispute.

This time Microsoft is on the receiving end. Network equipment maker Alcatel filed two lawsuits on Friday alleging infringement of seven of its patents. The patents cover a range of techniques aiding user authentication, network address translation, setting up data communications and transporting video.

Alcatel refused to say how Microsoft had infringed its patents, and wouldn't say which products caused the infringement. Lucent, which is due to merge with Alcatel by November 30, was already involved in a patent dispute with Microsoft over video-decoding technology in its Xbox 360.

An Alcatel statement said, "This lawsuit was initiated to preserve Alcatel's rights to fair compensation for its intellectual property rights used by Microsoft. Alcatel hopes that the matter can be resolved by further discussions rather than by the courts."

In the meantime, Alcatel is seeking cash compensation and a court order to bar further infringement.

Microsoft UK hadn't responded to requests for comment at the time of writing.

According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Microsoft US has issued a statement saying "We are unable to comment on the specifics of the case until we have a chance to review the complaint in more detail. Alcatel's filing appears related to longstanding patent litigation between Lucent and Microsoft in... San Diego, which Alcatel is inheriting as part of its merger with Lucent."

The latest case is being heard in Texas.

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