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B&N Responds To Microsoft's Android Suit

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the telling-it-how-it-is dept.

Android 175

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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175 comments

Ob (1, Redundant)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960992)

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

Re:Ob (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35961034)

1. What is a fi-percent-and?
2. How did you submit this with no "carrier"? And
3. I think there is a bug in the encoding, causing messages to be spaced out,.

Re:Ob (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35961106)

No carrier is the message you get if you're typing in commands in cmd.exe and your adsl disconnects. The joke is that the poster was trying to post some secret and he is implying that Microsoft cut his line.

Re:Ob (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35961110)

No carrier is the message you get if you're typing in commands in cmd.exe and your adsl disconnects

I lol'd

Re: The Castle Arrrrrggggghhhhhhhh (0)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961712)

Perhaps he was dictating?

Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35961010)

When you can't come up with a better product, it's time to call in the lawyers.

Re:Patents (5, Insightful)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961018)

In Microsofts case i imagine the problem lies more with their reputation than their product. WP7 is behind the times, lacks many basic functions people take for granted in a smartphone and are just a "me too" product.

But, their biggest problem is that people regard Microsoft as a backwards, boring and utterly crappy company unable to release good products. Anyone who ever used a Windows Mobile Phone shy away from WP7 like a beaten dog from a stick. Anyone who has used Windows more or less expect WP7 being about as interesting as Windows 7 or Vista. The brand Microsoft is tarnished to the point almost no marketing in the world can save it.

Re:Patents (4, Informative)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961048)

The Irony of it is that MSFT tarnished their brand by excessive marketing, and pushing into area's they really couldn't support. Combined with bad management decisions, and stupid internal restrictions means that Windows as a whole suffered.

MSFT came out with a tablet edition of the OS in 2002, but 9 years later still don't have a tablet edition of any other software they deploy.

When apple developed the ipad, one of the first set of included apps was a slightly dumbed down, but functional copy of their software.

Re:Patents (1)

salesgeek (263995) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961286)

Back in 2004, I got a really cool Motion Computing tablet. It was 2x the computer an iPad was but was fatally flawed.

It was limited in utility because only the Journal software that came with it, MS One Note and a form CRUD application I forgot the name of really used the tablet features. Had MS truly pen/touch enabled Windows from top top bottom (i.e. larger buttons, smarter click regions, better pen integration to windows GUI controls etc...), their model for tablet computing would have won out years ago. I seem to remember reading a story about how there was some kind of fight between departments at MS where the pen computing group couldn't get the people that did office and Windows to add more tablet functionality...

Re:Patents (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#35962222)

Exactly. I have wanted tablets since I saw slates in 2003-2004 however I noticed that MSFT had basically destroyed slate abilities and made all tablets by them have to be convertibles as you needed a keyboard 90% of the time.

the Ipad, and now Android tablets are showing that you don't need a keyboard except for large data entry.
a slashdot post is not large data entry.

Re:Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35962312)

Had MS truly pen/touch enabled Windows from top top bottom (i.e. larger buttons, smarter click regions, better pen integration to windows GUI controls etc...), their model for tablet computing would have won out years ago.

Cool story, bro

Re:Patents (2)

neokushan (932374) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961126)

Before I got my android phone, A windows mobile device was the best phone I'd ever had. This was back in 2004, mind you, when people were still impressed by colour screens and "polyphonic ringtones", while I was able to watch films and play Doom.

Re:Patents (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961166)

It's true they were the most functional devices around for a while, I liked my HTC/WinMo combination as the best available choice for a while. I didn't want an iPhone, but I'm sure glad that it forced phone interface developers to get a grip. I now have an Android phone and tablet, they're definitely the nicest combination of interface and functionality right now.

Re:Patents (5, Informative)

miknix (1047580) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961678)

Are you kidding? I have a HTC Wizard phone (TI OMAP-850) which is full of cool stuff: IRDA, bluetooth, 3G/EDGE, WiFi, 1.2M camera, qwerty keyboard, etc.. I know these are not impressive specs right now but they were 4 or 5 years ago. If you asked me the question: -what can you do with it? I would answer NOTHING!

It was not good as phone, that is, the user interface was not designed for it. I was much much faster taking of my dumb phone out from my pocket and write a text message using t9 than to go through all the menus in windows mobile, launch the messaging program, slide the qwerty keyboard, wait for the screen to rotate and finally write the message. We can argue the hardware was slow, but the truth is that Microsoft made the BIG error of having the software and hardware division separated by a huge Berlin wall. I disassembled the firmware and ended up realizing that it was compiled for the previous generation of ARM CPU, the Wizard's CPU is a ARMv5 and windows mobile was built for generic ARMv4!!! They (HTC probably) could have made the software adequate for the hardware they were selling but they didn't care. Even Linux with a small desktop manager runs faster on my HTC Wizard than the original firmware!!

It was not good as a internet device, the integrated Internet Explorer was slow, and difficult to use with a pen, a real pain in the ass. I preferred to wait and see some article at home instead of accessing it "right away" through the phone using GPRS.

Activesync was a horrible thing, you cannot imagine how much contacts I lost during a sync. Syncing through exchange was also a nightmare, I can never forget this message: "there was a change in the server, all the data in your phone needs to be deleted and synced again". WTF???

The integrated windows media player was another design stupidity, believe it or not, I had to use VLC (a port of it) because windows media player wasted my battery in less then one hour.

It had an integrated "office" suite which, truth to be told, was completely useless - at least for me.

The only thing I found useful on that phone was using third party instant messaging programs which actually worked well (much better than msn messenger). Other thing that worked well was playing games which actually used the pen interface quite well.

The device at the time cost 600 euros, I paid less than half for it in a ebay bid. Still, I feel it was one of the biggest scams of my life, I just still keep it because it runs Linux and is useful for robotics applications. I hope you feel through my wording how pissed off I still am!

Re:Patents (3, Interesting)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961926)

Windows phone 7 doesn't really seem to fit anywhere...

To the general public, the windows brand is associated with desktop and laptop computers...
I spoke to someone who is entirely non technical, who brought up a "windows phone" they had seen advertised on tv, and then stated they would never consider buying one because "why would i want windows on a phone?"

They believed that a windows phone would be plagued with malware and blue screens of death, basically bringing all the problems from the pc to their mobile. Now while this is an incorrect assumption, that's the assumption people make when they see the brand windows.

These same people are the ones keeping windows alive on the desktop, because they believe it is an inherent part of desktop computing and often either aren't aware of any alternatives existing at all, or are of the belief that linux is for geeks and macos is extremely expensive. For phones on the other hand, these people are already familiar with existing mobile platforms.

To people who have used earlier versions of windows mobile, the brand has often left a bad taste... Earlier versions were clunky and unreliable, and that's a major disincentive to try the current version... I know several people who had windows mobile 6.x devices, and all of them hated it and have since moved to other non microsoft phones.

To people who have decent knowledge of the smartphone market, windows phone 7 is woefully behind all the other offerings and not really worth considering at this point...

And to geeks, windows phone 7 isn't unix, isn't open, and is from a company known for making poor software.

Windows, the very name gives it away, is a desktop gui system... The interface is an extremely poor fit for use with anything other than a mouse and keyboard. The brand should really be kept where its appropriate because the name has negative connotations in any other field....

The xbox was fairly successful, largely because it disassociated itself from the windows brand...

outmode (2, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961146)

When you can't come up with a better product, it's time to call in the lawyers.

Patent protection is valid even if you are not the most qualified or successful at implementing your ideas. indeed that's the point. it is supposed to stifle the competition so that you can be completive yourself or force them to pay you.

How can "outmoded" and "inessential features" be considered a defense against a patent? Isn't that the whole point of a patent? doesn't it describe a feature whose duration of being protected is exactly prescribed? It can't be outmoded during this time by definition. And if the feature is inessential then why did android choose to include it. The whole point of a patent is the right to say "no you can't include that way of doing something".

They don't seem to be arguing that the patent was obvious and incorrectly awarded. Instead they seem to be arguing designs can't be patented because designs are arbitrary. Which again is the whole point of the "design" patent. Unlike a concept patent, a design patent is much narrower protection of arbitrary features.

B&N seems instead to be arguing against patents. Better to make that argument when you are not being sued for violating one.

Re:outmode (1)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961612)

Patent protection is valid even if you are not the most qualified or successful at implementing your ideas. indeed that's the point. it is supposed to stifle the competition so that you can be completive yourself or force them to pay you.

And this is the fatal flaw of patents: patents, which should ideally be a net benefit to society, instead are proving to carry with them a real, measurable loss function. If the patent holder is not the best implementer, then society suffers because the cost to society for the better implementations is higher than it would be without the protection. This is especially true in fast-moving fields like software where by the time a patent expires the technology is obsolete; the benefit society should have reaped from the invention is reduced and/or delayed due to patents.

Yes, there are always counterexamples where some Large Company abuses a relationship with some individual and "steals their idea." But, as a society, we have to ultimately ask ourselves, just how much protection should an individual have at society's expense? That, however, is not really a question appropriate to patent discussions.

Re:outmode (1)

strobe74 (617588) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961666)

you should probably read the claims from MS, and read about the ridiculous pattens that they've had to hide for years from the linux community, and then read the response by BnN before you post responses like this. It makes it clear you haven't ready any of those things and are just blowing hot air. BnN has legitimate claims that Microsoft's pattens are BS and are not infringed upon in any way by the Nook. They also make a strong argument that MS's only goal is to shut down android at all costs by trying to charge licencing fees for their laughable pattens that are higher than the licence cost of windows 7. Check out Groklaw (http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20110427052238659) and you can read about all of this. Microsofts only hope of winning is that BnN goes bankrupt. I would say that it's in google's interest to make sure that doesn't happen. Google can stop Microsofts push against android by invalidating any claims of "infringement" in one fail swoop. And if MS looses this, they should prepare themselves for a long ride in the back seat of the mobile computing future. I doubt that you'll bother, but if you read on in the comments you'll notice how many people can give you exact software systems that used all of the features in each of these pattens well before 1992, which is prior art. Basically if BnN doesn't go bankrupt and can see this through.. not only will MS be stopped in their tracks and be forced to compete on the merits of their product (lol) but they're going to loose all of those pattens to prior art as well. Personally, I hope BnN jams their foot up MS's back side.

B&N got nads. (4, Insightful)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961014)

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:B&N got nads. (2, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961028)

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.

Re:B&N got nads. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35961044)

falling from the sky, thinking 'Oh no. Not again.'.

Re:B&N got nads. (4, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 3 years ago | (#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!)

Re:B&N got nads. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35961490)

Fail. Describing a metaphor != claiming to use one.

Re:B&N got nads. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35961832)

Fail. Being a dumbass who uses "Fail."

Re:B&N got nads. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35962194)

Unless he/she is using the word "like" as a noun/verb and not the literal meaning of "like", you know, like, this.

Re:B&N got nads. (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961070)

Sorry about that, i was thinking about the fig leaf of peace. I'm also a Swede and English is my third language.

Corporations go into battle (or cooperation) with Microsoft with the best of intentions while MS only has one goal, to kill them. Barnes and Noble is one of the first that dares to take Microsoft head on. Since everyone else has lost against Microsoft their way is proven not working so it will be interesting to see how it works doing a full counter attack.

Re:B&N got nads. (0)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961218)

Sorry about that, i was thinking about the fig leaf of peace.

Metaphors just aren't your friends, it appears...
A fig leaf is a symbol of covering up; you want an olive branch for peace.

I'm also a Swede and English is my third language.

That's uncommon. Most Swedes would have English as their second language, and due to subtitling instead of dubbing TV and movies, be pretty good at it.
Did you mean Swedish (a Swedish resident) and not Swede (having a Swedish cultural heritage), or did you grow up outside Sweden?

Re:B&N got nads. (0)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961624)

No, its really not uncommon. Sweden have a very large group of immigrants, more than 13% of its population is born outside Sweden according to official statistics.

Re:B&N got nads. (0)

jmac_the_man (1612215) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961652)

Posting to undo a crappy accidental moderation.

Re:B&N got nads. (0)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961162)

Of course; that's what the 'N' stands for.

Now what do you suppose the 'B' stands for?

Re:B&N got nads. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35961498)

B stands for Balls.
Balls and Nads

Re:B&N got nads. (1, Insightful)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961220)

More than likely, Motorola, HTC, and Samsung already have patent cross licensing with Microsoft. B&N does not have the years of previous experience that might have lead to such deals.

B&N seems to be trying to claim that enforcing ones patents is an anti-trust violation, but patents are government sanctioned monopolies so that's a ridiculous argument. They seem to be throwing everything at the wall and hoping something sticks.

"I didn't do this, your honor, and if I did I wasn't in my right mind, and if i was I was probably drunk and if I wasn't I was under duress and if I wasn't then nobody saw me do it, and if they did you can't prove it, and if you can I will yell, and if you ignore me or sanction me I will cry."

Re:B&N got nads. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35961278)

Yes, exactly. I don't like software patents. But they are here and companies need to deal with them within the law until we can get rid of them. From the licensing that other vendors such as HTC have done with MS it is pretty clear that they do have some patents that apply. So B&N needs to license them like everyone else. You can't just say, "but that isn't an important feature, so I can infringe on it without paying". Work on getting rid of the software patents - but until then play within the rules B&N.

Re:B&N got nads. (1)

Defenestrar (1773808) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961654)

... "but that isn't an important feature, so I can infringe on it without paying"...

Yeah - don't they know that's a copyright violators argument: "I'd have never paid for this crappy album so it's ok that I downloaded it." They really need to get their faulty IP defense straight if they want to screw it up in the standard model.

Now a decent argument would be that MS is trying to enforce patent claims outside the scope of the original approved claim. Often this will be done by badgering someone with the general patent preamble without getting into the "bulleted" specific claims of the invention's innovation (which is where the enforcement really matters).

The systematic "license or litigate" strategy as applied to inventions beyond the scope of one's patents could then be viewed as monopolistic competition stifling behavior subject to anti-trust enforcement.

PS - I really like my Nook Color

Standard legal practice (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961338)

> They seem to be throwing everything at the wall and hoping something sticks.

This, as far as I know, is standard legal practice. It is perfectly accepted for a legal brief to have 10's of arguments, where some of the arguments assume things which other arguments claim are invalid. For example:

  • Law X doesn't apply because of Y.
  • Assuming that Law X applies to the situation, that means that Law Z requires filing document W which the plaintiff didn't do.
  • ...

There's a certain interesting parallel to programming which covers all the corner cases.

Re:B&N got nads. (1)

Lorien_the_first_one (1178397) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961970)

Then perhaps they can enjoin some defendants who can help.

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

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 3 years ago | (#35962018)

"B&N seems to be trying to claim that enforcing ones patents is an anti-trust violation"

No, they are arguing that enforcing THIS SET of patents, IN THE WAY Microsoft is doins is an anti-trust violation.

Re:B&N got nads. (0)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#35962080)

What other way is Microsoft supposed to enforce their IP besides filing suit against an infringer that refuses to license?

Re:B&N got nads. (2)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35962170)

For starters, how about reasonable terms and prices? The terms seems very awkward, the licensees only get to use a specific version of Android.

This for a price that is double the per unit price of Windows Phone 7.

You either use WP7 for half the price of a per device patent license, or get stuck in a very awkward position where updating your phones to newer versions of Android becomes a very difficult and cumbersome process involving Microsoft, or you license WP7 instead, from Microsoft. This can actually be one of the reasons HTC and Samsung seems so reluctant to upgrade their phones. If thats not stifling innovation i dont know what is.

Re:B&N got nads. (1)

Lorien_the_first_one (1178397) | more than 3 years ago | (#35962212)

I see that at least one lawyer from Cravath, Swain & Moore is representing B&N. Based on how they handled the SCO lawsuit, I would think they know what they're doing. They also have a couple of lawyers from Kenyon & Kenyon, LLC. Kenyon seems pretty adept at defending from patent infringement suits, too. I'd say that B&N has enough legal sense about them to defend themselves well.

Re:B&N got nads. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35961416)

Nah. Being part of the content Mafia, B&N can describe it so well, because that's how they are. ;)

Re:B&N got nads. (2)

Lorien_the_first_one (1178397) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961966)

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.

And once Elops done they'll get even more patents. (2, Informative)

phonewebcam (446772) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961054)

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.

What is a patent for? (2, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961056)

'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?

Re:What is a patent for? (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961096)

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...

who wrote B&N's statement (1)

doperative (1958782) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961178)

"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 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", fuzzyfuzzyfungus

Do you assume that the Android OS is violating MS patents, if so, explain your reasoning ...

Re:who wrote B&N's statement (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961276)

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...

Re:What is a patent for? (0)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961184)

Except that Microsoft has listed the explicit patents they claim that B&N is violating. There's no FUD there, there's no hand waving.

Re:What is a patent for? (4, Informative)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961324)

Microsoft has listed 6 of the patents, but claims there are more. Microsoft revealed/introduced these 6 patents and claimed that there were more and they could shut down Android but wouldn't explain more without an NDA. B&N views patents as public record (well, because they are) and saw no need to sign an NDA to reveal the rest of the infringing patents. So, in this document, they are claiming Microsoft is being deliberately dishonest in attempt to extort money from companies.

Re:What is a patent for? (4, Insightful)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961598)

This parent needs to be modded up. I know that very few of us are surprised that Microsoft went SCO on this, but requiring an NDA to see which patents were violated just reeks of patent trolling. Last I checked, *we're supposed to know that patents exist and what they cover so we can avoid violating them!*

Of course, I'm sure that they also acted in good business faith and contacted the other parties about these patents to allow Google et. al. to fix and remove the offending code. I'm also completely convinced that the patents in question provide true innovation and are worth licensing.

Just another case of "Software patents gone wild." Remember American brethren, contact your congresspeople and tell them to go EU style in regards to software patents because our current system continues to prioritize litigation over innovation.

Re:What is a patent for? (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961358)

Then why did they want B-N to sign an NDA to see how they were supposedly violating?

Re:What is a patent for? (2)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961098)

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?

Price asked for to license (2)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961812)

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.

Re:What is a patent for? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35962234)

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.

Re:What is a patent for? (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35962374)

If you read the filing over at groklaw you see that the terms are anything but reasonable. Another thing that stands out is how intent they seem at keeping these deals secret. If the other companies that has already taken the license band together i really think they have a solid case against Microsoft and ample chance of getting huge damages because of lost sales and being forced to pay unreasonable amounts.

 

Re:What is a patent for? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35961108)

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

Presumably to encourage people to innovate, create their own inventions and thereby profit instead of failing to do so and instead setting up a racket to extort the work of others. But hey, what do I know?

Re:What is a patent for? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961984)

Presumably to encourage people to innovate, create their own inventions and thereby profit instead of failing to do so and instead setting up a racket to extort the work of others.

One method of profiting is to license your inventions to others.

B&N may have a case that the patents in question do not cover their device, but that is different from their claim that patents shouldnt be used to "extract" license fees from them. They might also have a case that the license fees are discriminatory, but that seems unlikely considering that other companies making android devices (some of B&N's competition) are paying those very same fees or cross-licensing their own IP with Microsoft.

Re:What is a patent for? (1)

elsurexiste (1758620) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961368)

'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?

You raise an interesting point. If you weren't allowed to charge patent fees, then patent trolls and this kind of things wouldn't exist. That's a cool notion!

Re:What is a patent for? (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961554)

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

Re:What is a patent for? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#35962134)

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.

All's well with the world (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961064)

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.

Re:All's well with the world (1)

gmack (197796) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961080)

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.

Re:All's well with the world (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961194)

What exactly does the european patent office have to do with a US patent suit?

Re:All's well with the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35961216)

What part of american patent law says that only US prior art is relevant?

Re:All's well with the world (5, Informative)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961272)

What exactly does the european patent office have to do with a US patent suit?

Any relevant action by a foreign patent office must be promptly disclosed to the US PTO (37CFR 1.97, 1.98). In other words, it's required by law.

Re:All's well with the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35961274)

Maybe something along the lines of the patent which was invalidated by a foreign patent office on the grounds of prior art. Ianal but prior art is prior art no matter which country it came from so the patent should have been rejected by the patent office in the US.

This can then be used to point out that this patent has prior art which MS knew about (the EU rejection) but was not recorded against for their US patent application. If they have done it for this patent, maybe they have done it for one or more of the other patents...

Are you really that dumb? (4, Interesting)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961296)

> What exactly does the european patent office have to do with a US patent suit?

Do you actually believe that European witnesses shouldn't be allowed to testify in US court cases? Because that's approximately what you're saying. The EU patent office found what they believe was prior art and brought this to MS's attention. MS failed to address this in their US patent application.

It's the patent system, stupid (0, Troll)

jamesl (106902) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961138)

A lot of bluff and bluster against Microsoft for defending a patent. Barnes and Noble needs to attack the patent or the patent system. Fighting a PR battle is evidence that B&N doesn't have the facts necessary to win the patent fight.

Re:It's the patent system, stupid (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961174)

A lot of bluff and bluster against Microsoft for defending a patent. Barnes and Noble needs to attack the patent or the patent system. Fighting a PR battle is evidence that B&N doesn't have the facts necessary to win the patent fight.

But then MS is fighting a PR battle as well.

Maybe they're both wrong? Maybe they hope to subvert the courts via public pressure? Maybe the patents aren't what the fight is actually about?

Re:It's the patent system, stupid (1)

dcollins (135727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961204)

I agree. Most unfortunately, this smells of desperation when I read it.

Re:It's the patent system, stupid (2)

jrbrtsn (103896) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961208)

B&N cannot expect to change the patent system, and attacking the patents will take years and tens of millions of dollars - with no guaranteed outcome. Given that Microsoft is charging more to license the patents for Android than the cost of an equivalent MS OS license, how can their actions be interpreted as anything but anti-competitive?

Re:It's the patent system, stupid (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961426)

Aren't patents by definition anti-competitive?

Re:It's the patent system, stupid (1, Informative)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961224)

A lot of bluff and bluster against Microsoft for defending a patent. Barnes and Noble needs to attack the patent or the patent system. Fighting a PR battle is evidence that B&N doesn't have the facts necessary to win the patent fight.

Go read TFA from Groklaw - It includes a metric shedload of attacks on the validity and applicability of the patents, as well as the "Microsoft is being evil" PR stuff (which could be crucial if the case ever ends up in front of a jury).

Re:It's the patent system, stupid (0)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961230)

It's simple they don't have the facts because MS have not actually listed which patents TheNook infringes, B&N have done a search and found nothing they need to worry about ....

MS have been doing this for some time,
      You are infringing loads of our Patents
        Which ones?
        We won't tell you except in court ...
Up until now they have not actually taken anyone to court, and so have not had to reveal what they are basing this on... it might be (and B&N seem to think) that it is a load if outdated, irrelevant, or over generalised patents that won't actually stand up in court, and MS hoped B&N would not contest ...

 

Re:It's the patent system, stupid (1)

Sc4Freak (1479423) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961336)

Ironically, Microsoft is already fighting the current patent system. They're one of the biggest supporters of patent reform becuase in the end, Microsoft loses way more money defending against patent trolls than it gains from licensing deals.

Re:It's the patent system, stupid (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35961350)

Right -- it's the patent system. Some of us are living in (well, kinda) democracies. So fighting the patent system *starts* with a PR battle.

Let everyone know that *patent matters*. Don't let those dirty robber barons do their thing in the cozy dark. Shout, yell, tell everyone.

Don't go sit in a corner, slowly shake your head and mumble "they are too strong". Fight.

Re:It's the patent system, stupid (2)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961362)

Well, someone needs to set a precedent that some large corporations are abusing the system. Seems to me a first step to provide insight about the need of a reform. Fighting small patent trolls is not going to make it.
 
  while I see this as a desperate attempt from B&N, they may also have a point. Besides, what is it exclusive to B&N that MS is attacking, that is not in any other reader, including the iPad?

Re:It's the patent system, stupid (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961466)

Besides, what is it exclusive to B&N that MS is attacking

Maybe other companies are licensing tech from MS. Or, maybe they have a large enough tech patent portfolio to assure mutual destruction if MS were to sue. I don't suppose a book retailer has too much in the way of ammo against MS, so they're a safe target.

Re:It's the patent system, stupid (2)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35962304)

Of course B&N doesn't have all the facts. Microsoft claims there are more patents it can and will assert but would not reveal which ones without their signing an NDA first. This is extortion and blackmail on Microsoft's part. They are certainly not dealing straight and honest. But that is precisely how Microsoft has been dealing with their patent threats over the past what...? decade? Microsoft claims "Linux infringes on no fewer than X patents" and then won't say which patents they are preventing people from changing or challenging the patents. To me, it's like trying to win an argument by simply saying "you're wrong!" without providing any supporting details.

How well would it fly in court if a police officer issued you a traffic ticket but wouldn't tell you what you are being charged with? Fortunately, we have laws which make providing the specific charges and evidence to the defendant a requirement. Why we don't have this in civil cases prior to going to court is beyond me.

This also kinda reminds me of a neighbor one floor below me. She claimed that something in my area was affecting something in her area... in this case, plumbing and she wanted me to pay for repairs. I requested to look at the damages and she refused to let me see them. So I just closed the door. Don't come to me demanding money without letting me see what I am spending my money on. You would think she was the IRS or something.

PJ! (0)

Rinzwind (870478) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961148)

You rock!

Good for you, BN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35961262)

I have no desire for an e-reader, but I'm buying a Nook at BN when I go into the city this weekend.

Re:Good for you, BN (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961600)

I'll take it off your hands when you decide you have no use for it... I think I can put some use to it. I don't want to buy one "new" -- still too expensive for me.

Cue the shills and apologists... (0)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961284)

All claiming Microsoft is perfectly justified in their behaviour...

once a convicted monopolist, always a convicted monopolist...

Re:Cue the shills and apologists... (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961446)

It will be interesting to see what Obama's DOJ does with Microsoft. Will they, too, find that Microsoft has abused its monopoly position, and then let them off the hook without so much as a handslap as Bush's DOJ did? Or will they not even make that token display, and simply laud Microsoft's tenacity?

Re:Cue the shills and apologists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35961758)

Or will they not even make that token display, and simply laud Microsoft's tenacity?

Depends on how many bri... uh campaign contributions were given out and by whom.

Re:Cue the shills and apologists... (0)

dimethylxanthine (946092) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961592)

If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.

reports critical of reports reportedly unreported (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35961320)

if you can call this 'weather', it looks like we're covered with the profitsized atmostfearial holycost of our trusted rulers & deities. let 'er rip? born again, & again, to the guaranteed endless suffering of servitude to real murderous egomaniac neogods, & fictional mean streak super power invisible (spooks) 'beings'? more pageants must be in order? there's also 3rd party.gov rumours that the whore of babylon has finally been positively identified, by papers she was carrying.

the 'more important things to do' would be complete disarmament, followed by complete honesty. thanks

trump would be more iconic with hair fix? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35961594)

could be that simple for some of us. he is like a stand-up ringmaster, ?comic? highly rated m.o.c. too, which appears to be most important when presenting bad news (more bigger wars) disguised as good news. or, is hillary really the jesus, mary & joseph we really need to pull us out of this obvious poopslide into the netherworlds we're not in, surrendering ourselves to the divinely justifiable need to control everything by use of manufactured fatal force?

Buy a Nook or Nook Color! (0)

rogerdugans (902614) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961390)

Become a customer of Barnes and Noble.
The company deserves support- their e-readers are top-notch and their resistance to the MS Borg (You WILL be assimilated.) is good to see.

Microsoft's premiere expertise in recent years has become the generation of FUD about competitors products instead of the actual creation of anything new.
Stifling innovation is NOT supposed to be a "business model" but that really seems to be what they are about.

Anyone remember when MS used to be a software company? Yeah, I know- it was a long time ago....

Mod parent up (1)

EriDay (679359) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961714)

I was kind of thinking the same thing. I've been on the fence about a Nook, this puts me over the fence. I want to contribute to B&N's war chest.

I'm looking at a B&W model, not color.

MS is turning into SCO (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35961402)

They're slowly drifting into becoming a fullfledged patent troll.

Re:MS is turning into SCO (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961562)

Yes because Microsoft has learned from SCO's success on the matter. Okay, so SCO was asserting copyrights (which they did not have) and claiming evidence (which they did not have). This is different -- it's software patents or "on the internet" patents.

The Big Hand of Google? (1)

C0L0PH0N (613595) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961432)

I have no inside information, but given that (1) Google developed Android, (2) that Google is REALLY BIG, and (3), that Google is being sued by Oracle for infringing Java in Android (ie, an attack on Android), I can't help but wonder if Google isn't providing assistance and moral support to B&N, in the B&N defense of Android. I don't even know if that would be legal, but I think it is interesting that Google is the 800 lb gorilla in the picture, and I haven't read (or I missed it) a peep about that possible connection. It will be interesting to see if support from Google is possible, and if it plays a role in resolving this issue.

Re:The Big Hand of Google? (2)

rkhalloran (136467) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961772)

>> I can't help but wonder if Google isn't providing assistance and moral support to B&N, in the B&N defense of Android.

I'd chalk it up as something simpler: the dead-tree book market is imploding, B&N is trying to compete with Kindle by offering the Nook, and suddenly here comes MS wanting a cut off the top for claimed violations of dubious patents. B&N is refusing to take the hit on their declining bottom line just to satisfy a patent troll.

Of course, MS hasn't shown the spine to date to just go ahead and file against the Googleplex; they're going after the handset/tablet/e-reader makers instead because they figure they'll have a better chance of them rolling over and paying the danegeld. Nice to see B&N refusing to play the game.

SCOX(Q) DELENDA EST!!

The complaint sounds like SOP patent litigation (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961538)

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.

Yes, but that's exactly the right thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35961890)

Get people moving about this. There's no other way to get laws changed. Public indignation is the first step and I thank B&N for contributing to that!

Barnes & Noble: HEROES!!! (1)

diretalk (1712478) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961628)

This company has Heroes! Standing up to the extortions of Microsoft.

Go get 'em B&N (1)

SengirV (203400) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961856)

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.

Patent violators... (2)

xyourfacekillerx (939258) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961872)

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 you'll call the police.

B&N argument is terrible. 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.

Point Number 9? Microsoft and Nokia planned to enforce their patents and litigate patent violaters? Clearly that demonstratably invalidates Microsoft's right to pursue those cases. "Hey, why don't we both just start going after patent infringement cases?" That's illegal? I doubt it. Anyways, now I know, if police departments ever openly discuss intentions and PLAN to catch DUI offenders, well that's just predatory and any resulting arrests and convictions should just be dismissed.

Microsoft's brief quote was priceless. The issues isn't whether Microsft is over-doing it with the patent thing. 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?

Patents point (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35962160)

"Microsoft intends to utilize its patents to control the activities of and extract fees from ..." Thats what patents are for... So what is new?

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