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News Microsoft loses a $1.5 billion suit

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Tim S, 23 Feb 2007.

  1. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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  2. DougEdey

    DougEdey I pwn all your storage

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    Why isn't MP3 opensource yet?
     
  3. dullonien

    dullonien Master of the unfinished.

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    This one seems very unfair. If it was thought that Fraunhofer owned the legal rights and Microsoft payed them, then shouldn't Alcatel be be taking it up with Fraunhofer who was claiming to have rights over something they didn't? How is this Microsofts fault? I don't quite get it.
     
  4. antiHero

    antiHero ReliXmas time!

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    Strange i always thought that the Frauenhofer institut of technology invented the MP3 algorytm(sp?). Even the Wiki says its from them and i read it in 3 languages. But they can be wrong :D
     
  5. kenco_uk

    kenco_uk I unsuccessfully then tried again

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    Either Alcatel did 'invent' it or they own balls of brass.
     
  6. mclean007

    mclean007 Officious Bystander

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    The don't necessarily have to have invented it - they could have acquired the patent through other means (purchasing the rights, acquisition of a company that owned the rights etc.)

    I am quite surprised by this, however. As far as I knew, Fraunhofer was the rightsholder? I'll be surprised if this judgment stands as is - it will either be reduced to a significantly lesser amount, or it will be successfully appealed.
     
  7. _DTM2000_

    _DTM2000_ New Member

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    This is very unfair on MS. It sounds like they did everything they should to use the MP3 format. If Alcatel did realy own the patent at the time MS purchased the rights, both MS and Alcatel should be suing Fraunhofer for selling the rights to something they didn't own.
    I'm sure it's not as simple as that but somethings not right with this.
     
  8. Darkedge

    Darkedge New Member

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    Alcatel are being typical evil in this case or just business savvy. Fraunhofer has virtually no money compared to MS, so you sue the ones with the cash.
    I'm sure Fraunhofer had the patent and invented it - started creating mp3's in 1998/99 with Fraunhofer programs myself.

    from wikipedia:
    "On July 7, 1994 the Fraunhofer Society released the first software MP3 encoder called l3enc. The filename extension .mp3 was chosen by the Fraunhofer team on July 14, 1995"
    I don't believe Alcatel and hope MS win in appeal and they have to try and sue Fraunhofer.
     
  9. bilbothebaggins

    bilbothebaggins New Member

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    Oh, and I get a little confused when Fraunhofer is called a company.
    But you can decide for yourself what it is: http://www.fraunhofer.de/
     
  10. riggs

    riggs ^_^

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    I too though Fraunhofer invented/patented the MP3 compression algorithm?!

    According to Wiki, Alcatel own patents relating to MP3 compression/decompression, which could mean anything...
     
  11. mclean007

    mclean007 Officious Bystander

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    Assuming Alcatel owns the patent and Fraunhofer doesn't, the way it should work is this:
    (1) Alcatel sues MS for using MP3 without a licence (done)
    (2) MS sues Fraunhofer for purporting to license something to which it doesn't have the rights.

    There isn't much point in (2), becuase AFAIK Fraunhofer doesn't have the kind of cash to bother chasing.
    I thought "Gesellschaft" was German for "company"? What do you think it is? It seems to be some kind of applied research organisation, but there is no reason why it couldn't be constituted as a company, unless you know something I don't. In any event, your quote refers to it as a "firm" and as a "group", both of which are broader terms than "company".

    Interesting quote, however. I'm going to do some more digging.
     
  12. mclean007

    mclean007 Officious Bystander

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    ...interesting read. I don't really understand what's going on here, but I doubt the court would have awarded $1.5bn if there were no merit at all to Alcatel-Lucent's case. That said, it was apparently a jury trial, which is a pretty daft way to determine such a technical civil matter.

    EDIT: It's a shame in many ways that mp3 has become so ubiquitous that devices and software more or less have to support it. I mean, who would buy an 'mp3 player' (common parlance for a digital audio player) which didn't play mp3? But mp3 is technically inferior to pretty much any other codec in common use (Vorbis, AAC etc. - after all, they wouldn't have succeeded in gaining market share if they didn't offer demonstrable benefits over the existing standard) - mp3 has relatively poor compression efficiency, even with optimised codecs such as lame --alt-preset xxx; and it doesn't offer proper gapless playback (though there are some rather inelegant workarounds). Add to that the licensing issue, in contrast to the open source nature of Vorbis, particularly, and it is a real shame that mp3 was first to market.
     
    Last edited: 23 Feb 2007
  13. randosome

    randosome Banned

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    wow, this is quite surprising
    also, shouldn't Alcatel have brought this up at the time of MS buying the rights from Fraunhofer and said they didn't actually own the rights

    IMO it also seems wrong that MS are getting in trouble for being deceived by a company
     
  14. ChromeX

    ChromeX New Member

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    Yeah same here, I was under the impression that Frauenhofer had all the rights until they sold it.
     
  15. Redbeaver

    Redbeaver The Other Red Meat

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    goddamn, 1.5billion.... thats all i can say lol my heart fringe when i heard it....
     
  16. TomD22

    TomD22 New Member

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    But....everything uses mp3. Are Alcatel gonna go sue every other digital media player manufacturer, and every other writer of software that can play mp3's now? That's a hell of a lot of sueing against some companies just as big as MS to do. Or am I interpreting that wrongly?
     
  17. dullonien

    dullonien Master of the unfinished.

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    So Alcatel bought Lucent Technologies in 2006 and therefore aquired some sort of patents to do with mp3. When did they sue Ms......a year ago? Did Alcatel aquire Lucent Technologies for any other reason than to take companies like Ms to court?

    If the court has ruled against Ms, doesn't this (apparently) mean that every other company that has had anything to do with the mp3 format also owe them money i.e apple, any mp3 player manufacturer, every piece of software that's capable of playing mp3's, most dvd player manufacturers (since most read mp3 discs nowerdays) etc.

    This is just ridiculous, why go after Ms, oh yeh thats right, cause they have the kind of money that a court would fine them 1.5bn, and people have a view of microsoft as being bad!

    Hope this get's overturned by the appeal court with specialists deciding, not a jury of avarage joe's who have no idea what most of it means and hear the word Microsoft and automatically think they are in the wrong.

    Sorry, I really hate the sue crazy world we live in nowerdays.

    TomD22 got in there before me!
     
  18. kenco_uk

    kenco_uk I unsuccessfully then tried again

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    Or did everyone else rtfm and pay Alcatel for the license to use MP3's?

    edit: rtfm = 'they knew'. btw, rtfm
     
    Last edited: 23 Feb 2007
  19. dullonien

    dullonien Master of the unfinished.

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  20. gnidnu

    gnidnu Beware of the Tofu!

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    "Gesellschaft" also means association or organisation. As far as i know, the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft consists of 58 institutes and more than 80 research establishments at all - so i wouldn't call it a company.

    There is short but godd article concerning patents and licence disputes in (or on?) the german Wikipedia, but due to lack of vocabulary, i'm not able to translate it.
     
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