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Microsoft settles most of AT&T patent suit

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...

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.

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.

Details of the settlement agreement, which included a stipulated judgment, are being kept confidential, said AT&T spokesman James Byrnes.

One issue between the companies has yet to be resolved and will 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 have not disclosed what that outstanding issue is.

James Niccolai writes for IDG News Service

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