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Verdict spares Microsoft $358M in patent damages

SEATTLE (AP) – A federal appeals court says Microsoft Corp. does not have to pay Alcatel-Lucent $358 million for patent infringement because of problems with how damages were calculated.

The disputed patent describes a method of entering information into fields on a computer screen without using a keyboard. Alcatel-Lucent says Microsoft’s Outlook calendar and other programs illegally used this technology.

A jury determined that damages should roughly equal what Microsoft would have paid up front to license Alcatel-Lucent’s technology. But Friday, the U.S. Appeals Court for the Federal Circuit said the French company didn’t prove its technology was valuable enough to have merited $358 million in royalties.

The judges told a district court to reconsider the penalty.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

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