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Barnes & Noble Names Microsoft's Disputed Android Patents 386

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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  • the thought plickens (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SoupGuru ( 723634 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @02:54PM (#38062984)
    I might go out and buy another Nook to reward these guys for what they're doing.
  • Re:Well now (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tsingi ( 870990 ) <graham.rick@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @02:56PM (#38063006)

    It's about damn time the patents came out.

    Yes, and they are more trivial than I could have ever imagined.

    RTFA, it's worthwhile.

  • Maybe unfounded... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @02:56PM (#38063010)
    But I suddenly feel scared for Barnes and Noble. They are a relatively small company daring to take a stance against a mammoth. I really, really hope they don't get crushed. :(
  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @03:05PM (#38063130) Homepage Journal

    This seems like a really foolish thing for a convicted monopoly to do. I could see a clear case being made that Microsoft is leveraging their postion in the PC market to dominate in the mobile phone market. That and the NDAs alone should really get the justice department hopping mad. Well that and an election and the fact that Google is more loved than Microsoft and people are in a "mega corps bad" mood these days and an election is coming.

  • Wooow, just Woooow (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Riceballsan ( 816702 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @03:07PM (#38063174)
    For those who don't RTFA this is frickin ridiculous, here's Microsoft patents that they are racking in the dough from phone carriers over.

    1. Loading icon in the content window of a browser

    2. Compatibility of file names with current and outmoded operating systems

    3. Storing input/output in a shared file system

    4. Simulating mouse inputs on a device without a mouse

    5. A browser that recognizes background images and displays them after the text is loaded

    6. Using handles to change the size of selected text

  • by bberens ( 965711 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @03:21PM (#38063378)
    Don't buy a Nook, they don't have much profit in those.. just buy a bunch of ebooks, that's where the money is.
  • B&N and the NDA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:00PM (#38064178)

    B&N REFUSED to sign any Microsoft Gagging Agreement apart from one very limited document. That is clearly documented in the filings made by B&N.

    B&N are also irate about the terms MS wanted to impose on them for seemingly ancient and trivial violations.

    So MS got a patent on using the kb to simulate a mouse/trackpad. There is so much prior art that will shoot that down that i want to get up an applaud B&N for exposing the MS RICO scam. I can't support them by buying a Nook as they don't ship it to my country.
    I'd also like to be at a few shareholder meetings of the companies that have signed up for the MS Scam. I'd expect their BOD to get a really hard time explaining why they let MS literally screw the comany and shareholders.

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

    by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:06PM (#38064294)

    That list is so freaking absurd that it just boggles the mind that Samsung, HTC, et al are actually paying hundreds of millions over it. My God, what have we become?

    Here's a good conspiracy theory: Are they really paying money, or did MS say "Hey, if you "pay" this licensing fee for Android, we'll return it to you as credits on Windows Mobile licensing fees".

    So Microsoft gets to spread FUD and tell everyone "Hey, these other guys paid up, so should you", while the companies may not be paying anything.

    Since MS tried to require an NDA and confidentiality just to disclose the patents (which are already in the public domain), I wouldn't be surprised to find that they had some backroom deal to reward companies for paying for Anrdroid.

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

    by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:29PM (#38064718)

    Patents have become a way for a group of big players to completely lock out the small players. Because software moves so fast (and these are all exclusively software patents from MSFT) the 20 year patent duration is excessive. Basically the libraries of patents that these companies hold are so large that they really don't know what they have or what they might be infringing upon from another company. So they simplify it by just having a blanket cross-licensing deal with all their friends. Ie, "you're probably infringing on us, and we're probably infringing on you, so let's shake hands and call it even and go after those small upstarts instead." A century ago this sort of thing would have been called a trust and invited strong government scrutiny.

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

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:47PM (#38064986) Journal

    I did and in fact I'd say they are pretty damned scary if they hold up. How are you gonna make your browser with a way to tell users a page is loading as opposed to hung without a throbber of some sort? but don't forget friend we have Apple claiming rights to a square and so far the courts have sided with them which means unless you can get the courts to throw out MSFT's patents (which is NOT guaranteed by ANY means) you could see FOSS well and truly fucked. look at the one on file systems, how in the fuck are you gonna make a modern file system that does NOT infringe on that one?

    That is why while I say software patents shouldn't be allowed in the first place often you are better off just paying the troll to STFU and go away. if the courts give MSFT precedent by ruling in their favor you are screwed, and if B&N are drug through the courts for a decade or more of legal wrangling then the court fees and lawyers will screw them so bad we'll need a word worse than Pyrrhic victory for the money drain they are gonna suffer. I know guys here think they should always 'fight teh powerz!" but if you look at the costs often you are cutting your own throats.

    After all MSFT has enough cash on hand that a decade long legal fight won't cost them shit, hell they have a legal army on payroll anyway so it is the same cost whether they use them or not. How is B&N doing for cash these days?

  • That does make sense (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Comboman ( 895500 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @05:18PM (#38065600)

    That might explain why phone manufactures like Samsung and HTC (who make both Android and Windows phones) are willing to take the deal but B&N is not.

  • by Anthony Mouse ( 1927662 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @05:29PM (#38065784)

    Judicious coders are now looking for prior art, and they'll probably find it. But each patent fought will be a battle by itself, cost a lot of money, and more cross-complaints will be filed. This is only the beginning, not the beginning of the end.

    This is the knock-down argument for why what Microsoft is doing is illegitimate. If it doesn't matter whether the patents are valid because they have a thousand other patents in their back pocket then you're not paying for a patent license, you're paying protection money against ruinous litigation. You either have to pay up or you have to play Russian roulette with a machine gun where every dud costs you a million bucks in legal fees.

    That's the problem with mutually assured destruction. It only works when the entities are the same size. Otherwise it's a war of attrition, so the big guy only needs to force an equal dollar amount of each party's cash into a big pile (called "retainer fees") and then set it all on fire and wait for the little guy to either capitulate or go into bankruptcy. And compared to Microsoft, B&N is the little guy.

  • Re:Well now (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @06:58PM (#38067158) Homepage

    They are trading for well under book since they are very close to losing money. But they have plenty and only about $700m in debt.

    Further Google might be looking to take over the lawsuit.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.