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B&N Pummels Microsoft Patent Claims With Prior Art 332

Posted by Soulskill
from the beware-the-wrath-of-patent-attornies dept.
itwbennett writes "As Slashdot readers will recall, Barnes & Noble is being particularly noisy about the patents Microsoft is leveraging against the Nook. Now the bookseller has filed a supplemental notice of prior art that contains a 43-page list of examples it believes counters Microsoft's claim that Nook violates five of Microsoft's patents. 'The list of prior art for the five patents that Microsoft claims the Nook infringes is very much a walk down memory lane,' says Brian Proffitt. 'The first group of prior art evidence presented by Barnes & Noble for U.S. Patent No. 5,778,372 alone lists 172 pieces of prior art' and 'made reference to a lot of technology and people from the early days of the public Internet... like Mosaic, the NCSA, and (I kid you not) the Arena web browser. The list was like old home week for the early World Wide Web.'"
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B&N Pummels Microsoft Patent Claims With Prior Art

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  • Re:Fraud (Score:3, Informative)

    by Desler (1608317) on Friday November 18, 2011 @02:58PM (#38101486)

    You mean except for the fact that the patent in the summary DOES mention a number of examples of the claimed prior art in its background section? For example, it specifically mentions Mosiac in it. So what fraud do you mean?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 18, 2011 @03:11PM (#38101682)

    except other than the people that read slashdot, no one fucking cares because it isn't newsworthy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 18, 2011 @03:12PM (#38101688)

    That's only because Apple isn't interested in settling -- the only relief that Apple is seeking is to remove Android from the market.

  • Re:Fraud (Score:4, Informative)

    by Salamander (33735) <jeff AT pl DOT atyp DOT us> on Friday November 18, 2011 @03:15PM (#38101714) Homepage Journal

    It probably has something to do with the difference between claims and description in a patent application. Claims are the part that matter. Often the claims are constructed so they *just barely* pass the obviousness test, e.g. by taking two ideas that are too obvious by themselves, but combining them in a way that's less obvious. The description can then be far more general, and is often shared between many patents, but that doesn't affect the validity of the claims *at all*. To determine the validity of a patent you have to look very carefully at what is being claimed, and only refer to the description as background to understand the claims.

    Disclaimer: IANAL and I don't give legal advice. I've just been through this nearly a dozen times.

  • by reimero (194707) on Friday November 18, 2011 @03:15PM (#38101718)

    Essentially it went down like this:
    MS> Android infringes some of our patents, but if you pay our fee, you can use it.
    Potential licensee> What patents does Android infringe?
    MS> You'll need to sign an NDA for further discussion.

    Companies sign the NDA, and then they're legally obligated not to comment on the specific patents. Microsoft likely doesn't actually expect to win this one. Microsoft expects to send a message that they're willing to enter costly litigation, which would likely be more expensive and more of a hassle than simply paying the licensing fee.

  • Prior art is any publication (or product) that is in the relevant industry (i.e. "art") that is "prior". That's it... That something is prior art doesn't mean it invalidates the patent. To invalidate a patent claim, you need to find either one piece of prior art that anticipates the claim - i.e. discloses, either explicitly or inherently, each and every element in the claim; or find a combination of multiple pieces of prior art that, in combination, teaches or suggests each and every feature of the claim (thus showing that the claim would be obvious to one with access to the art that existed at the time of filing).

    So, yes, everything listed by B&N is prior art, but it's not necessarily all art that anticipates Microsoft's patents, or even necessarily renders them obvious. This is merely a list of prior art generated by a keyword search... B&N hasn't yet said which piece or pieces of art, alone or in combination, teach or suggest each element of the claims. In fact, they explicitly note that some of the references Moreover, while the prior art references listed below are categorized by patent-in-suit, the references listed relate "to the general knowledge".

    Basically, it's a bit premature to claim that the list counters the patents. It may, once they've been mapped to the claims, but until then, it's just a list of art.

  • by Daetrin (576516) on Friday November 18, 2011 @03:21PM (#38101796)
    The Simple Touch is great if your primary interest is an eReader. My girlfriend just got one and it works great for that. Using Calibre i was even able to transfer over a little more than half the books she'd already bought from Amazon on her phone. (I'm still looking into how to handle the rest of the books.)

    On the other hand if you want a more tablet like experience you should go with the Color or Tablet. Given the marginal price difference i think the Tablet is the best buy. It's probably a tough decision for those who already have a Color to decide whether to upgrade or not, but that doesn't seem to be where you're at. In both cases it seems like "rooting" it is a simple case of installing Cyanogen on a SD card and plugging it in, something i think most people on Slashdot can probably handle.

    Here's one review i found [msn.com] though it's focused more on the differences between the Nook Tablet and the Amazon Kindle Fire, and gloomily predicting that the Kindle will overshadow despite the Nook's superior hardware.
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Friday November 18, 2011 @03:23PM (#38101826) Journal
    Well, gates has a false legacy all around him. For starters, he was not the one that picked DOS. IBM did. Later on, Gates bought the rights to Unix, merged it with DOS and then sold Xenix on 286s. When it had zero performance, it was others that pointed out how foolish he was. ANother set of employees had to convince him to stick with DOS and skip Xenix. Then gates ran around screaming that 640K was more than enough. The net we all know about. I mean it continues on and on and on. The man was NOT that bright. Just in the right places at the right time, with the right ppl.

    Sadly, since MS has such a dearth of talent (esp. with that idiot balmer), they have to resort to illegal tactics.
  • by mooingyak (720677) on Friday November 18, 2011 @03:24PM (#38101848)

    MS and Apple are nothing but patent trolls, no matter how the apologists want to spin it.

    Microsoft and Apple both produce actual products, while the standard definition of a patent troll is usually a corporation whose entire business is licensing and/or suing others while producing no products of their own.

    MS and Apple are trying to use their patents to make competing products prohibitively expensive. Also reprehensible, but a distinct activity from patent trolling.

  • by inode_buddha (576844) on Friday November 18, 2011 @03:27PM (#38101874) Journal

    Not true. The rules of evidence in civil cases require both parties to bring everything they have to the table. They can't ramp it up later on in the suit. Although they may be able to start a different suit after this one is over. Watch closely and see how the judge enforces this. It's going on right now in Oracle vs Google.

  • by icebike (68054) on Friday November 18, 2011 @03:48PM (#38102132)

    MS and Apple are trying to use their patents to make competing products prohibitively expensive. Also reprehensible, but a distinct activity from patent trolling.

    Except when you follow the links and read the article (I Know, I know) you see that trolling is exactly what is going on here.
    Microsoft is trolling by proxy, using MOSAID in Canada as a non-practicing third party holder of these patents.

    They (MOSAID) specifically state that they can't be counter sued for infringements because all they do is license patents
    that Microsoft purchased from Nokia and deposited with MOSAID (after assigning themselves a free license to use them).
    MOSAID does not practice these patents. They fit perfectly your definition of a TROLL.

    Further Microsoft themselves don't practice most of these patents either, because they don't make phones. But because they licensed
    these patents they are attempting to use them as a club to beat Android. So Troll again.

    Nokia, not party to this action, retained a license when they sold these patents to Microsoft and their sock puppet MOSAID. They practice all of these patents, and therefore have stayed out of the way and kept their mouth shut on this issue.

  • Re:First post! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Aryden (1872756) on Friday November 18, 2011 @03:54PM (#38102222)
    Not according to the MAFIAA. $0 dollars earned by you means millions lost by them that you owe...
  • by Riceballsan (816702) on Friday November 18, 2011 @04:02PM (#38102328)
    Most likely the way Microsoft cut deals with everyone. I believe the rumor is that microsoft tells the phone manufacturers every dollar they spend on the android patents, will come back to them in free WP8 licenses/marketing for windows phones etc... So basically for the other companies the options are A. Spend money on invalidating it, receive no refund, B. Spend money on something you don't need, get it all back. More or less without fighting they lose nothing unless WP8 completely fails to sell at all. Think of it as if you had a utility company, the electic company says you need to pay them $20 a month for your internet access they don't provide, but they will subtract $20 from your power bill. Does it matter to you? B&N and Amazon would be the few companies that have motivation to fight it, Microsoft has nothing to offer them unless B&N wants to make a windows powered reader later on as well.
  • by rkhalloran (136467) on Friday November 18, 2011 @04:05PM (#38102358) Homepage

    The difference between the B&N case and the various handset/tablet makers is that the latter can just add the MS danegeld to the consumers' final bill, where for B&N the Nook is simply an 'enabler' for their main business of selling you reading materials. They want to hold down the cost to hook you easier and recoup their costs quicker. Why pay royalties to MS on what B&N sees as basically a digital shopping bag?

  • by Tharsman (1364603) on Friday November 18, 2011 @04:27PM (#38102614)

    Bit of a derrail here but an interesting point on Job's biography is that Jobs wanted to manufacture their products here, but no one was able to get the high numbers of entry level engeniers needed to operate the factories. He personally told Obama disapointing education standards are to blame. He even stated he was not talking about engeniers with BAs, simply vocational school levels of engeniering education. (Certain regulations were also blamed but only as delay factors, not roadblocks.)

    It is sad when China beats us at a contract not due to cheap labor, but due to higher numbers of educated workforce.

    Anyways, back to patent trolling!

  • by painandgreed (692585) on Friday November 18, 2011 @05:03PM (#38103058)

    Correction - MS and Apple both PAY CHINESE to produce actual products. There, fixed that for ya.

    Correction to the correction - MS and Apple both pay the US, Japan, Korea, Germany, and several others for actual products which are all shipped to China where a Taiwanese company is paid to have the Chinese assemble them together.

  • by Jeng (926980) on Friday November 18, 2011 @05:17PM (#38103260)

    And when MP-3's came along the music stores didn't shut down.

    Well, actually they did.

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