21
Mar
matlock doesnt like nook

Microsoft announced today that they are filing legal action against Barnes & Noble, Foxconn and Inventec for their collaborative role in manufacturing the Nook Color. Why would Microsoft be suing for anything even remotely related to the Nook Color? As you probably know, the Nook runs a version of Android and Microsoft owns several patents which it claims Android violates. Microsoft says that anyone making an Android device needs to pay them, or else they are going to do as they have done today - and sue them.

"The Android platform infringes a number of Microsoft’s patents, and companies manufacturing and shipping Android devices must respect our intellectual property rights. To facilitate that we have established an industry-wide patent licensing program for Android device manufacturers," said Horacio Gutierrez, Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Intellectual Property & Licensing. "HTC, a market leader in Android smartphones, has taken a license under this program. We have tried for over a year to reach licensing agreements with Barnes & Noble, Foxconn and Inventec. Their refusals to take licenses leave us no choice but to bring legal action to defend our innovations and fulfill our responsibility to our customers, partners, and shareholders to safeguard the billions of dollars we invest each year to bring great software products and services to market," he added.

What exactly is Microsoft claiming Android has stolen from them which Barnes & Noble must answer for? The statement says that Android uses "natural ways of interacting with devices by tabbing through various screens to find the information they need; surfing the Web more quickly, and interacting with documents and e-books" - all of which they claim they own the rights to.

I am not a legal expert and don't have the documents in front of me to see what Microsoft is claiming patent ownership of, but I can't help but wonder if Microsoft is showing a little bit of sour grapes at their late and lackluster arrival to the mobile computing game - blaming their falling behind in the next computing battleground on having their own ideas stolen from them. Of course that isn't to say that Microsoft may in fact have legal ownership of said patents (their lawyers apparently think they do).

You can read the full statement below:

Microsoft Takes Legal Action Against Barnes & Noble, Foxconn and Inventec for Patent Infringement by Android Devices

Statement from Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing

Redmond, Wash. — March 21, 2011 — Microsoft Corp. today filed legal actions in the International Trade Commission and the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Washington against Barnes & Noble, Inc. and its device manufacturers, Foxconn International Holdings Ltd. and Inventec Corporation, for patent infringement by their Android-based e-reader and tablet devices that are marketed under the Barnes & Noble brand.

“The Android platform infringes a number of Microsoft’s patents, and companies manufacturing and shipping Android devices must respect our intellectual property rights. To facilitate that we have established an industry-wide patent licensing program for Android device manufacturers,” said Horacio Gutierrez, Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Intellectual Property & Licensing. “HTC, a market leader in Android smartphones, has taken a license under this program. We have tried for over a year to reach licensing agreements with Barnes & Noble, Foxconn and Inventec. Their refusals to take licenses leave us no choice but to bring legal action to defend our innovations and fulfill our responsibility to our customers, partners, and shareholders to safeguard the billions of dollars we invest each year to bring great software products and services to market,” he added.

The patents at issue cover a range of functionality embodied in Android devices that are essential to the user experience, including: natural ways of interacting with devices by tabbing through various screens to find the information they need; surfing the Web more quickly, and interacting with documents and e-books.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Source: Microsoft via Mashable

Will Shanklin
Will's typical, run-of-the-mill story is that of 'classically-trained actor turned Android smartphone and tablet writer.' If you catch him quoting Shakespeare, it's not because he misses it, but because he desperately wants his Masters in drama to count towards something.

Sir William dwelleth in the fair haven
Chicago; with his fair maid'n Jess and his
trusty cur, Ziggy.
  • http://www.slipshft.com Slipshft

    This looks like a case for patent reform.

  • Rami

    i hope this doesnt mean that barnes and noble stops support for the nook color. I have one and run cyanogenmod 7 on it and hopefully by next week i will be running a full custom rom on my droid x also.But Barnes and Noble shouldn't take this crap from micro$oft and i think all of the companies that manufacture devices with android and google themselves should have a big lawsuit against microsoft stating that those patents (if they are even applicable) are too broad and get in the way of innovation. off topic but if the bootloader on my DX is unlocked completely before june, i may consider the bionic but i wont buy a new phone for a while because i like custom roms

  • ddp

    Swiping through homescreens is a patent?! GTFOH!!!!

    All of this patent BS is inhibiting REAL innovation. If they have a *specific* patent claim, then fine - sue. But not over something as vague as that. That's like Apple and their "slide to unlock" suit against Android, which is a completely different implementation than Apple's. None of the customized locked screens even compare to the stock's.

  • abeee

    Microsoft's "innovations" sound a bit vague... at any rate, if Microsoft hadn't laid-off so deeply they'd probably be in a better position at this point.

    Hindsight... what a B!tch

  • Sxeptomaiac

    A combination of patent and tort reform are needed. Microsoft is holding the industry hostage with a large team of lawyers that can tie up companies for years.

    The "licensing" is actually just a payoff to Microsoft, the neighborhood thug, to not mess up their business. HTC puts too much of their business into Android to risk not paying off MS, but it looks like Barnes and Noble are willing to take the risk that some idiot judge won't force them to put a hold on the Nook color during legal wrangling.

  • William

    "safeguard the billions of dollars we invest each year to bring great software products"

    The only dollars invested by MS in these vague notions they claim a patent on is the money being paid to the lawyers. I hope the judges award huge damages against them for attempting to warp and stifle innovation.

  • Misteral

    A couple of things leapt out at me from this article:

    1) "I can’t help but wonder if Microsoft is showing a little bit of sour grapes at their late and lackluster arrival to the mobile computing game" - in what ways were Microsoft late? Windows CE and Mobile predate the iPhone, in the same way that tablets running Windows and Linux predate the iPad. Apple may have done their Pied Piper act and made the ideas popular, but they certainly didn't originate.

    On the other end of things:

    2) "natural ways of interacting with devices by tabbing through various screens to find the information they need; surfing the Web more quickly, and interacting with documents and e-books" Wait, what? What utter nonsense! I used Windows mobile for a few years and without the addition of SPB Mobile Shell, it was a real pain. Tabbing through screens? If by that they mean making choices on one screen to lead to another, SURELY they cannot have a patent on that?!?! Does the WWW also have to pay Microsoft, since it operates on the same basic idea?

  • Irish IIII

    Where is SCO when you need them?

  • iAndows7

    What the hell is up with this comments section? Type 6 totally different message and it keeps saying "too spammy"?

  • FX111

    B&N is going to pay, what Microsoft lacks in innovation they make up for with their legal team.

  • Andy

    well Google, judging by bings theft of your search results (not sure if you can sue for that but i'd try ) Microsoft obviously struggle with searching too....I'd make life real easy for them and demote any microsoft related links for a few weeks, you know with the 'oh the code accidentally got in there by one of our employees' excuse (as in the wifi case) yea that should make microsoft pipe down :P use bully tactics against bullies

  • chris

    "natural ways of interacting with devices by tabbing through various screens to find the information they need; surfing the Web more quickly, and interacting with documents and e-books."

    LOL. Just lol. How much broader could these statements be.

    Electronic device that you operate using multiple inputs. Can I patent that? Pretty sure I'd be rich.

  • Edd

    Anyway, Windows Mobile never had tabted browsing. HTC did when they tried to make up for Microsoft's $hitty UI with their HTC Sense, but MS just did nothing, and now they're suing?

    Cases like this put me right off buying a company's product.

  • http://www.linuxzone.se JasoX

    Im glad i haven´t bought Microsoft products for years. Android and Linux is two products which is in my household.

    It would be even better if my girlfriend would get rid of her iPhone and get a Android phone. She already has Linux on her netbook. :)

  • lyndon420

    So...does this mean that Apple will be getting sued as well? To me, it seems like any device that doesn't use Internet Explorer by default will be slammed with a law suit. Before Internet Explorer came along we didn't have this thing we call the World Wide Web. Microsap had their long running monopoly...maybe it's time that they step aside and let others give the consumers what they really want (besides something as seemingly simple like 'copy & paste'...which I'm sure ms thinks is their property as well). And what do the majority of consumers want? I want ms to back out of the mobile game because 1) They don't have a clue what they are doing...can't even get copy & paste right, 2) For every device they put out, someone else could have put a better operating system on it (like Android) to make it worth something, something to be proud of. Shame on MS and their jealousy issues.

  • lyndon420

    Maybe a boycott is needed? A refusal to use/buy anything that is Microsap?

  • Asphyx

    Perhaps a Class Action suit against MS is in order.

    Everyone who bought an android device say.

    The complaint would be Microsoft is intentionally inflating the prices of our products making us pay more due to frivilous lawsuits against the companies that make them.

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