MPEG LA v. Alcatel Lucent


03/22/10 – 03/24/10


A major patent licensing battle began March 21 in Delaware Chancery Court. The suit involves a pool of essential patents for DVD players and other consumer electronics. For complete details, visit CVN's blog.

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.

Representing MPEG LA is Garrard Beeney, Adam Brebner and Penny Shane of New York's Sullivan & Cromwell and Timothy Dudderar, Matthew Fischer and Richard Horwitz of Wilmington's Potter Anderson & Corroon.

Defending Alcatel-Lucent and the Multimedia Patent Trust is Edward Donovan and F. Christopher Mizzo of the D.C. office of Kirkland & Ellis and Andre Bouchard and Joel Friedlander of Wilmington's Bouchard Margules & Friedlander.

Presiding over the trial, which is expected to last about six days, is Chancery Court Chancellor J. Travis Laster.

View a free video clip from the case:
Gerrard Beeney questions Barbara Landmann -- Clip 1




Recording Disclaimer: This proceeding was recorded in full.

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