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Court to Hear Microsoft Appeal

The Supreme Court agrees to consider an appeal over duspute over a patent owned by AT&T.

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal by


(MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Report

of a lower court ruling that found it could be liable for as much as $1 billion for allegedly infringing on a software patent owned by


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(T) - Get AT&T Inc. Report


The case involves speech-recognition technology sold overseas by Microsoft.

Microsoft lawyers claimed the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in favor of AT&T "threatens to impose massive liability on U.S. software companies" and could prompt companies to move their research facilities out of the country.

Chief Justice John Roberts took no part in the court's decision to hear the case. The court offered no explanation, but Roberts' most recent financial disclosure shows that he owns between $100,000 and $250,000 in Microsoft stock, according to the

Associated Press.