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Lucent sues over 360 patent

More video decoding anger.

Networking technology firm Lucent has reignited a patent battle with Microsoft over the use of a specific video decoding technique in the Xbox 360 console, which Lucent claims infringes in a patent that it has held for over a decade.

According to Lucent, the MPEG2 decoder used by the Xbox 360 for some of its video functionality infringes on US patent number 5,227,878, which dates from mid-1993 and describes a method for "adaptive coding and decoding of frames and fields of video."

It's not the first time that the two companies have tussled over the patent - just over a year ago, a judge ruled in Microsoft's favour in an earlier case, although that summary judgement was handed down because of a typo in the patent, and it was made clear that Lucent was free to file a further case against Microsoft in future.

Lucent has now had the typo corrected in the patent, and is back to fight another round in court - this time accusing Microsoft of a wilful infringement of the patent due to the use of the technique in the Xbox 360, and pointing out that it has informed the software giant of the infringement but has failed to reach a settlement prior to filing suit.

Of course, the whole case is accompanied by the usual nonsensical sabre-rattling where Lucent demands that the Xbox 360 be withdrawn from the market, but what it ultimately boils down to is that the firm is seeking a cash payout - and it is now hoping for a jury trial to be convened to resolve the issue.

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