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Barnes & Noble Names Microsoft's Disputed Android Patents 386

Posted by timothy
from the cartels-invite-escape dept.
Julie188 writes "B&N is really blowing the lid off of what Microsoft is doing and how they are forcing money from Android. It has accused Microsoft of requiring overly restricted NDA agreements from those even entering into patent license talks. Because it is disputing Microsoft's claims, and the restrictions of its own NDA signed with Redmond, B&N has gone public. It has named in detail six patents that it says Microsoft is using to get Android device makers to pay up. Plus, B&N is also trying to force open Microsoft's other plans for stomping out Android, including the agreement Redmond made with Nokia, and Nokia's patent-troll MOSAID."
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Barnes & Noble Names Microsoft's Disputed Android Patents

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  • Well now (Score:5, Informative)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @02:46PM (#38062878)

    It's about damn time the patents came out.

  • Re:Well now (Score:5, Informative)

    by GameboyRMH (1153867) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {hmryobemag}> on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @03:10PM (#38063220) Journal

    TL;DR-friendly list of patents:

    https://www.networkworld.com/community/files/imce/img_blogs/microsoft_patents.jpg [networkworld.com]

    I don't know what to say.

  • Re:Well now (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @03:20PM (#38063352)

    The summary sentence is just that. There are probably (trivial) differences in the detailed description somewhere. I can't be bothered to look up the actual patents there myself, of course.

  • by oakgrove (845019) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @03:25PM (#38063432)
    Not only is that how it works but Netscape 2 had this functionality described in its release notes before MS even applied for this junk patent. Ridiculous. I hope MS gets tarred and feathered good!
  • by oakgrove (845019) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @03:33PM (#38063578)
    So they're bundling an "Android OS" with every search result now? Because that's the only way it would be similar to MS and the Winternetexplorerows fiasco Oh, they aren't? You're trolling? Thought so.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @03:43PM (#38063812)
    Patents identified prior to litigation
    • 6,339,780 [uspto.gov]: placing a loading status icon in the content viewing area of a browser
    • 5,579,517 [uspto.gov]: compatibility of file names employed by current and outmoded operating systems
    • 5,652,913 [uspto.gov]: storing input/output access factors in a shared data structure
    • 5,758,352 [uspto.gov]: compatibility of file names employed by current and outmoded operating systems
    • 6,791,536 [uspto.gov]: simulating mouse inputs using non-mouse devices
    • 6,897,853 [uspto.gov]: simulating mouse inputs using non-mouse devices

    Patents asserted in litigation

    • 6,339,780 [uspto.gov]: placing a loading status icon in the content viewing area of a browser
    • 5,778,372 [uspto.gov]: browser that recognises background images in an electronic document and displays the background images after text - i.e. duplicate display
    • 5,889,522 [uspto.gov]: putting known tab controls into an operating system for use by all applications, rather then providing tabs on an application-by-application basis
    • 6,891,551 [uspto.gov]: using handles to change the size selection areas for selected text
    • 6,957,233 [uspto.gov]: storing and displaying of annotations of text which is not modifiable

    These are the descriptions from the image in TFA

  • by Mojo66 (1131579) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @03:50PM (#38063982)
    The patents seem to originate from the 90's, one explicitly mentions Windows 95. Here is what they have patented:

    1) While loading a web page, the browser displays a placeholder before an image has been completely downloaded

    2) When loading a web page, the browser prioritizes the download of images

    3) The OS supplies applications with a system-wide API (DLL in Microsoft speak) to display icons and keyboard shortcuts in application windows

    4) Annotating a read-only file by writing the annotations into a new file

    5) Putting handles on a selected text area to allow for editing

    I'm not surprised that B&N calls those patents trivial. By today's standards they certainly are. Not sure however what the situation was back in 1996. Given how late they were in the browser wars, I would be surprised if 1) and 2) wouldn't be prior art. 3) sounds like they patented to have Motif in the OS rather than just the display manager. I'm pretty sure that 4) is also prior art. And lacking an Android device, I have only seen 5) in iOS so far.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:08PM (#38064332)

    1) They didn't break an NDA. Microsoft assumed incorrectly (yet again) that the NDA which only covered one discussion or topic applied to another without getting B&N's approval. Hence there was no NDA on the later data.

    Aside from that, total agreement.

    The nice thing is that most of the patents listed are completely invalid patents with tons of prior art to show that, and the others apply to functions not used in Android.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:13PM (#38064440)

    Simulating mouse inputs on a device without a mouse .. My old Atari ST had that for its GEM desktop -- hold down CTRL + arrow keys and insert/delete for right/left click. Sheesh.

  • by andydread (758754) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:37PM (#38064830)
    According Barnes and Noble this about open source software in general not just Android. They mention Tomtom and other non-Android device manufacturers. Microsoft is on a campaign to kill open source in the marketplace. More info available here [groklaw.net] and a damning PDF with lots of juicy information here [groklaw.net]
  • by residieu (577863) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:48PM (#38065004)
    B&N didn't break an NDA. They signed an NDA covering a single meeting, where the specifics on the patents weren't given. Microsoft then apparently forgot they hadn't signed the same NDA as everyone else and sent them information on the patents.
  • Re:Well now (Score:4, Informative)

    by amiga3D (567632) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @05:01PM (#38065290)

    The only people who can sue them for anti-trust is the DOJ I believe. If so that ain't happening. Before the last anti-trust suit MS was stingy on political donations. They wised up when the DOJ went after them and now they donate tons of money to politicos, greasing many palms. I doubt there will be any anti-trust action. It's easy to follow the money.

    http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=d000000115 [opensecrets.org]

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