I have a hunch this will come back to bite Alcatel-Lucent before they can collect any money from Microsoft or other firms that have licensed the technology.
About 400 companies have similar licensing agreements with Fraunhofer, according to Thomson Technology, a San Diego company that identifies itself as the "licensing representative of MP3 patents and software of the Fraunhofer Institute." Those companies include Apple, Creative Technology, Real Networks, Palm and Samsung.
Alcatel-Lucent and its lawyers would not say whether they plan to target more companies, but Desmarais signaled that others using the audio-file technology could be vulnerable.
"For anyone who implements the standard, the same arguments would apply," he said.