Lucent Technologies has been declared the victor in a two and a half year old patent infringement battle with Newbridge Networks and has won $9.59 million in damages as a result.
The news that Lucent had won the lawsuit it filed in June 1997 ended a tough week for Newbridge, a struggling Canadian ATM specialist. Earlier in the week, it said it planned to lay off hundreds of workers and was exploring options for the future, which could include a possible merger.
Lucent had charged Newbridge with infringing four patents, which covered increasing the efficiency of communications networks by controlling data traffic congestion, by detecting and correcting transmission errors, and by compressing digitised voiceband signals.
Lucent claimed that Newbridge's products, including its flagship ATM switches, infringed the patents.
And a jury in US District Court in Wilmington, Delaware, deliberated for nine hours before finding that the infringements were intentional. This means that the judge, Joseph Farnan Jr, can triple those damages under US law if he so desires.
But Newbridge is not giving up. A company spokesman said the supplier intended to present a new defence to Judge Farnan and was confident the jury's decision would be reversed on appeal.
The patent technology in question was originally developed in the 1980s at AT&T's Bell Labs, but Lucent inherited the patents when it was spun off from AT&T just over three years ago.
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