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Press Releases Media Coverage

Fish's Reversal of $1.5 Billion Verdict Against Microsoft Named to "Top 10 Litigation Wins of 2008" by IP Law & Business

March 19, 2009

Press Releases Media Coverage

Fish's Reversal of $1.5 Billion Verdict Against Microsoft Named to "Top 10 Litigation Wins of 2008" by IP Law & Business

March 19, 2009

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Boston, MA, March 19, 2009 – Fish & Richardson’s reversal of a $1.5 billion verdict against client Microsoft Corporation in its long-running battle with Alcatel-Lucent has been selected for the “Top 10 Litigation Wins of 2008” by IP Law & Business (February/March 09). According to the magazine, Fish & Richardson “engineered a dramatic reversal,” getting the $1.5 billion jury verdict set aside in August 2007, and having that decision upheld at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in September 2008. Before scoring the high profile appellate win, Fish won two separate back-to-back jury verdicts, defeating patents that Alcatel-Lucent claimed “literally covered every DVD” and for which Alcatel-Lucent again sought billions in damages.

The appellate win reversed the largest patent infringement verdict ever, according to IP Law & Business (IPL&B). The patents at issue allegedly covered the ubiquitous MP3 audio coding standard that is widely used to share music across the Internet and used in Windows Media Player and other MP3 compliant devices. The Microsoft and Alcatel-Lucent conflict began in 2002 with 13 patents on MP3 and DVD technology being disputed in six lawsuits. “The stakes in the appeal were high for digital music. Had Microsoft not prevailed, Alcatel wouldn’t have stopped with Microsoft,” said Rob Enderle, a computer industry consultant who is quoted in the IPL&B story. “Dozens of companies that sell MP3 devices would also have been hit with infringement suits,” he added.

The same was true for the DVD patents that Fish successfully tried to the two federal juries in San Diego in February 2008 and April 2008, before the MP3 appellate case was decided. “Alcatel-Lucent described these patents as the ‘crown jewels’ of its 7,000 plus Bell Labs patent portfolio, which is probably the most famous portfolio in existence. They claimed that their patents literally covered every DVD and three international standards on video coding,” said John Gartman, a principal at Fish & Richardson who has handled the Microsoft cases from the initial trials through the appeals. “Our wins in these lawsuits aren’t just a monumental victories for Microsoft and for our firm, they are major successes for international audio and video standards and for everyone in the movie and music industry who uses them.”

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