MicroSoft haggles over Future Messaging

Microsoft filed suit against Alcatel-Lucent in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, claiming the French company is infringing on 10 of its patents involving future methods for transmitting combined voice and data messages.

The patents involve existing transmission methods both line-of-sight and satellite, and data and telephony systems but Microsoft’s approach is to combine these worlds into a unified messaging system. Microsoft calls the approach channel-transparent messaging, and one of the court documents used to illustrate the scheme involves a wake-up call that utilizes a phone to deliver a text message combined with calendar entries for the day.

The patents include Integrated message storage and retrieval system distributed over a large geographical area, Computer-implemented call forwarding options and methods, and Interactive billing system utilizing a thin Web client interface. In all, Microsoft submitted 352 pages to the court involving the patents, which were filed on Jan. 29, 1999.

Microsoft is seeking triple damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, attorneys fees and a full injunction against Alcatel-Lucent.


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