The Delaware Court of Chancery features a trial this week that involves a major challenge to the portfolio of patents held by Alcatel-Lucent that are reported to be worth about $2 billion. A clip of a live video/audio feed of the trial is available here, courtesy of www.courtroomview.com . They summarize the claims and defenses in the case as follows:
According to the plaintiffs, the suit stems from Alcatel’s $11.6 billion purchase of Lucent Technologies in 2003. Alcatel was a member of an entity known as MPEG LA, the licensing administrator for a group of patents used by consumer electronics manufacturers. By contrast, Lucent was not a member of MPEG LA.
The plaintiffs allege that two days before the sale, Lucent hatched a "secret plan" to hide five patents involving high definition television and DVDs. Instead of sharing the patents with MPEG LA, Alcatel created a separate patent-licensing trust, known as the Multimedia Patent Trust, with Alcatel-Lucent as a 99 percent beneficiary, the plaintiffs claim.
MPEG LA, which brought the action in 2007, claims the patents in the Multimedia Patent Trust should be part of its portfolio, which has about 760 patents from 25 different manufacturers. MPEG LA is also seeking monetary damages.
Alcatel-Lucent denies all wrongdoing and claims that a previous ruling in a separate case that the MPEG LA patents were not infringed by the Multimedia Patent Trust demonstrates MPEG LA is not entitled to them.