San Diego (CA) - Patents have become the single most important income source for many company’s out there: Alcatel-Lucent is latest company that has gone on a crusade to cash in on its patents: Microsoft and Dell alone are now in the crosshairs of a multi-billion dollar patent infringement suit.
The strategy is similar to what we have seen hundreds of times in the past: Sue a big fish, generate a lot of buzz and, if damages are awarded, you have a legal base for other suits. Acer-owned Gateway settled with Alcatel-Lucent earlier this year on Valentine’s Day and now the company wants the big bucks from Microsoft and Dell. Alcatel-Lucent initially asked for about $300 million from Gateway, but terms of that settlement failed to see the light of day.
The patents upon which Alcatel-Lucent’s claim is based are one of most controversial ones, touching DVD playback (MPEG-2). The company is asking for $1.99 billion in damages from Microsoft and for $465.6 million from Dell. The lawsuit against Microsoft is based on the built-in DVD playback feature in Windows Vista, the Windows Media Player and the Xbox 360 game console, while Dell is being sued as a user of these features.