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Android Microsoft The Courts Your Rights Online

B&N Responds To Microsoft's Android Suit 175

Posted by samzenpus
from the telling-it-how-it-is dept.
eldavojohn writes "You're probably familiar with Microsoft's long running assault on Android but, as noticed by Groklaw, Barnes and Noble has fired back saying, 'Microsoft has asserted patents that extend only to arbitrary, outmoded, or non-essential design features, but uses these patents to demand that every manufacturer of an Android-based mobile device take a license from Microsoft and pay exorbitant licensing fees or face protracted and expensive patent infringement litigation.' Barnes and Noble goes on to assert that Microsoft violates 'antitrust laws, threatens competition for mobile device operating systems and is further evidence of Microsoft's efforts to dominate and control Android and other open source operating systems.' The PDF of the filing from two days ago is rife with accusations including, 'Microsoft intends to utilize its patents to control the activities of and extract fees from the designers, developers, and manufacturers of devices, including tablets, eReaders, and other mobile devices, that employ the Android Operating System.' and 'Microsoft has falsely and without justification asserted that its patents somehow provide it with the right to prohibit device manufacturers from employing new versions of the Android Operating System, or third party software.' Barnes and Noble does not mince words when explaining Microsoft's FUD campaign to both the public and developers in its attempts to suppress Android. It's good to see PJ still digging through massive court briefs to bring us the details on IP court battles."
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B&N Responds To Microsoft's Android Suit

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  • Ob (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Hognoxious (631665)

    I hope MS don't patent getting a fi%&
    *^n o c a r r i er

  • B&N got nads. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by miffo.swe (547642) <daniel.hedblomNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday April 28, 2011 @06:11AM (#35961014) Homepage Journal

    We have over the years seen giants like even IBM carefully thread around Microsoft, pussyfooting while Microsoft uses a chainmail. Its very refreshing to see Barnes and Noble taking the leaf out of their mouth and speak out, saying what everyone already thinks but wouldnt dare say.

    If this keeps up, the discovery phase could be very interesting. Imagine getting subpoenas out to Motorola, HTC, Samsung and the others being extorted for specifics about their collisions with Microsoft? I would imagine that being of enormous interest to the EU and the DOJ.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Hognoxious (631665)

      pussyfooting while Microsoft uses a chainmail. Its very refreshing to see Barnes and Noble taking the leaf out of their mouth and speak out,

      Your metaphors are like a petunia made from the D below middle C.

      • by Black Parrot (19622) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @06:35AM (#35961060)

        pussyfooting while Microsoft uses a chainmail. Its very refreshing to see Barnes and Noble taking the leaf out of their mouth and speak out,

        Your metaphors are like a petunia made from the D below middle C.

        FYI, when you use "like" it becomes a simile rather than a metaphor.

        "He was a lion." ==> metaphor
        "He was like a lion." ==> simile

        So for your joke to work you should have said, "Your metaphors *are* a petunia made from the D below middle C."

        (This bit of pedantry is brought to you by Slashdot. Stay tuned for more!)

        • What's wrong with making a simile about a metaphor? It's analogous to making a map of a road - not the same thing but close enough in some respects.

    • Hmmm. I really like the implications you raise here. I'm very pleased to see B&N go on the offensive as they do have counterclaims attached to their answer, too. If the DOJ wake up and the EU take notice, this could get really expensive for Microsoft. And I, as you, am really looking forward to discovery. I hope there is a worthy successor to Groklaw to track this.
    • I don't know what you consider to be an invention but if you consider This is not that [uspto.gov] to be one of those thoughts so far above mortal men that Microsoft should be granted exclusive rights to it's use then I have a whole bunch of other ideas that I'd like to sell you.

      The fact is that when you start patenting basic concepts and then throwing them around as the legal right to deny competitors entry to market. Then maybe you've gone to far and maybe it's about time someone said as much.

      Just my 2 cent

  • The rape of Nokia [stashbox.org] is well under way. He'll return to m$ from its smouldering ashes with a fucking sackful of them.

  • by Rockoon (1252108)

    'Microsoft intends to utilize its patents to control the activities of and extract fees from the designers, developers, and manufacturers of devices, including tablets, eReaders, and other mobile devices, that employ the Android Operating System.'

    It would be a strange system where a patent holder couldn't do these things. What precisely does B&N think patents are for?

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @06:44AM (#35961096) Journal
      Unless whoever in legal wrote/checked out B&N's statement is a complete moron, I assume that that particular line is attached to the broader claim that Microsoft is using patents that are either invalid, overbroad, or irrelevant; but excessively expensive/time consuming to challenge, to do that.

      As you say, patents are supposed to confer an exclusive right to the holder; but(given the seriously uneven quality of patents granted, and the substantial expense of litigation) the allegation that a company is using its patent portfolio to illegitimately assert exclusive control to which it is not entitled certainly seems to be well within the realm of plausible.

      It will take slogging through each patent to know for sure; but the strange 'linux violates our patents, we just won't say exactly which ones' game that MS played for a number of years doesn't fill me with optimism concerning the sound foundation and good faith of their android-related claims...
      • "Unless whoever in legal wrote/checked out B&N's statement is a complete moron, fuzzyfuzzyfungus

        'Microsoft is misusing these patents as part of a scheme to try to eliminate or marginalize the competition to its own Windows Phone 7 mobile device operating system posed by the open source Android operating system and other open source operating systems .. Barnes & Noble denies the remaining allegations set forth in this paragraph. 15. Denied. 16. Denied. 17. Denied`. link [groklaw.net]

        --

        "I assume that that particul

        • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @07:28AM (#35961276) Journal
          Given the extraordinary broadness and obviousness of the patents mentioned in the filing, It would appear that an extraordinary variety of software released in the past ~25 years, probably including Android, does violate them. It would also appear that none of them should have been granted.

          'the “display of a webpage’s content before the background image is received, allowing users to interact with the page faster,”' Wow. Feel the innovation...
          • I was wondering what would happen if someone patented "withholding the display of a webpage until the background image is loaded, assuring the design's unity" or similar crap. Would we have to give up using background images altogether?
    • by miffo.swe (547642)

      Well, one funny aspect is that Microsoft charges more per device for a couple of vague patents than they charge for the entire Windows Phone 7.

      It would be bad enough if it was priced at a similar price as WP7 but double the price?

      • It would be bad enough if it was priced at a similar price as WP7 but double the price?

        That is the whole point — try to make Android unattractive to consumers because it is too expensive.

        I would really like to see Microsoft try to compete on the strength of its products rather than strength of its lawyers. That they don't seems to me very telling: they can't and so use lawyers to distort the market to make their inferior products attractive.

        If they win this round they will be back for more and more.

        • by Maestro4k (707634)

          If they win this round they will be back for more and more.

          If history is any indication, even if they lose this round they'll be back with more and more FUD and anti-competitive behavior anyway. It's not like multiple anti-trust findings against them has stopped them yet, so why would losing this round?

      • by erroneus (253617)

        That does seem to fly in the face of "fair and reasonable" where costs are concerned. That is unless you realize that Windows is worthless (that is without worth or value) then charging more for a patent than the OS approaches fair and reasonable... at least in a humorous way.

    • by poetmatt (793785)

      considering that the patents are questionable and don't even cover android, what precisely do you think *these* patents are for?

      • by Rockoon (1252108)

        considering that the patents are questionable and don't even cover android

        Thats for a court, and not you, to decide. If they so obviously don't cover B&N's devices then they have nothing to worry about.

  • It's good to see PJ still digging through massive court briefs to bring us the details on IP court battles.

    And it's good to see Microsoft acting all the evil ways we'd come to expect. For a while the world was getting a little big crazy, and hard to understand.

    • by gmack (197796)

      Evil is the word for it. Just check this part out:

      36. The final asserted patent, the ’233 patent, relates to the storing and displaying of annotations of text which is not modifiable. As noted in other portions of this Answer, Affirmative Defenses, and Counterclaims, the claims of the ’233 patent are unenforceable because they were procured via inequitable conduct. During prosecution, Microsoft and its attorneys failed to disclose a prior art reference, U.S. Patent No. 5,146,552 to Cassorla et al., that the European Patent Office identified as pertinent and invalidating. Further, Microsoft even failed to disclose the European Patent Office’s assessment and description of the prior art, despite the fact that such assessment and description conflicted with Microsoft’s representations of the prior art to its invention. Moreover, in addition to being unenforceable, other prior art renders the ’233 patent’s claims invalid. In the ’233 patent itself, Microsoft admits that publishing houses wanted their documents to be in the form of non-modifiable text at the time users wanted to annotate. It was obvious to respond to the demands of both publishing houses and users. In implementing the concept of annotating non-modifiable documents, Microsoft did not have to devise any unique solutions, but merely applied well known techniques to the problem created by the advent of electronic publishing. This was nothing more than the utilization of common sense solutions to a problem, and there is nothing patentable about the concepts allegedly covered by this patent. In any event, neither the NookTM nor Nook ColorTM device employs the subject matter set forth in the ’233 patent, or infringes any valid, enforceable claim of that patent.

      There really need to be sanctions applied to attorneys who pull stunts like that.

  • All of the complaints listed more or less sound like the complaints often repeated everywhere when it comes to using patents as an offensive weapon. The complaints are also quite general. I seriously hope something good comes out of it, but I don't expect it. My initial reaction was "yeah, you are describing pretty much how patent litigation goes..."

    The case being made is more for patent reform and less as a defence against the actions which are, at the moment, lawful as far as I can tell.

  • I"m loving my rooted Nook Color. B&N is handling the production of their tablet the way every company should. If you want to go nuts and brick it, go ahead. We'll be happy to sell ebooks to those who do not, and also to those who do root it.

  • For some time around here, Slashdot user's general attitude seems to be that it's OK to violate patents. I guess that stems from the FOSS mentality, but just because you're willing to give your work away, doesn't mean you should expect everyone else to do the same. You have to allow that other people value their time and work in different ways than you value yourrs. And, just because you think it's not immoral to violate patents, doesn't mean it's immoral to enforce them. Someone steals your car, I'm sure y

    • Point Number 9? Microsoft and Nokia planned to enforce their patents and litigate patent violaters?

      It is not that they each planned to do so. It is that they agreed to each do so in order to supress competition, which makes it an antitrust violation. When two companies collude to suppress competition from a third company, it is an antitrust violation.

    • by russotto (537200)

      For some time around here, Slashdot user's general attitude seems to be that it's OK to violate patents.

      Attributing a general attitude to Slashdot users is dangerous. But I think you could safely say that generally Slashdot users oppose _software_ patents; a smaller group opposes all patents. For any given patent posted here, there will be an even larger group opposed to that particular patent. Of course, if someone doesn't think a patent should exist, it's perfectly reasonable for them to believe it's O

    • For some time around here, Slashdot user's general attitude seems to be that it's OK to violate patents. I guess that stems from the FOSS mentality, but just because you're willing to give your work away, doesn't mean you should expect everyone else to do the same. You have to allow that other people value their time and work in different ways than you value yourrs. And, just because you think it's not immoral to violate patents, doesn't mean it's immoral to enforce them.

      [...]

      The problem is that companies keep prompting them to litigate because companies keep infringing on their patents. If patent holders should not take legal recourse to stop such incidents, then exactly what IS the purpose of a patent, anyways?

      Hey, I've got a few questions about when a patent CAN be violated.

      0. Is it a violation to publish the body of a patent claim publicly?
      1. If not, then is it a violation of a patent to translate it to another language, say French?
      2. If not, is it a violation of a patent to print it out of my computer's printer, using postscript?
      3. If not, Can I put that print-out in a folder and carry it around? Can I sell a briefcase with the paper inside?
      4. Is it an infringement to store and transfer the paten

      • by hazydave (96747)

        Yes... software itself is just a document. You need a machine to actually violate the patent. That's why MS is going after B&N, not Google. Well, that, and Google's cash reserves, I rekon.

    • by jbengt (874751)

      Patents don't need marketed products to be valid. What about the "non-essential" features MS targets? Well, if one's product includes a feature that violates a patent, Microsoft won't claim the entire product violates it - they will say just THAT feature violates it. Unfortunately that means the product incorporating, or relying on it, can't exist without modification and compensation to MS.

      B&N is not arguing that non-essential features are not covered by patents. They are arguing that the patents are

    • by lpq (583377)

      What is the purpose of a patent?

      To encourage *innovation* -- not lawsuits.

  • by Locutus (9039) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @01:34PM (#35965520)
    I knew it was about protecting the Windows PC OS. You know, where so much of their profits come from they can afford to lose billions annually on things like WP7, Windows Mobile, MSN, BING, etc.

    http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20110427052238659

    "Microsoft demanded an exorbitant royalty (on a per device basis) for a license to its patent portfolio for the NookTM device and at the end of the meeting Microsoft stated that it would demand an even higher per device royalty for any device that acted "more like a computer" as opposed to an eReader."
  • It took a book company, not a electronics company, to point out how absurd patents for electronic information technology are.

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