Microsoft settles most of patent lawsuit with AT&T

Microsoft has agreed to pay AT&T an undisclosed sum as part of an agreement to settle most of the claims in a patent infringement dispute between the companies, AT&T has announced.

The dispute goes back to May 2001, when AT&T sued Microsoft for infringing on a patent related to a compression technology used to reduce the size of digital speech files. AT&T employees were granted the patent in 1984, according to a copy of AT&T's complaint.

Microsoft incorporated the patented technology in its NetMeeting online conferencing software, as well as certain versions of Windows and other products, AT&T charged.

AT&T offered to license the technology to Microsoft, but Microsoft refused, according to the complaint, filed in the US District Court. Details of the settlement agreement, which included a stipulated judgement, were being kept confidential, AT&T spokesperson, James Byrnes, said.

One issue between the companies had yet to be resolved and would be appealed to a US federal court, with a further payment by Microsoft contingent on the outcome of that appeal, AT&T said.

The companies were not disclosing what that outstanding issue was, Byrnes said.

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