Barnes & Noble Slams Microsoft for Patent Abuse

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft has been accused of patent abuse by Barnes & Noble by allegedly preventing manufacturers from using Google's Android operating system (OS), a product which competes with the Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system.

The accusation comes just over a month after Microsoft filed suit against Barnes & Noble company for allegedly infringing on a number of patents with its new Nook e-reader device.

Microsoft Declares 5 Ways Nook Infringes on Patent

Back in March, Microsoft accused Barnes & Noble's Nook of infringing on its patents a number of ways.

The first infringement claim was in regard to the way that Nook navigates through information via windows and tabs. The second violation has to do with the way the Nook displays a page's content before a background image can be received.

The third claim has to do with the way Nook permits applications to show a download's status over top of the content being downloaded. The fourth claim states that Nook selects and adjusts text in a document in the same way as Windows Phone 7; the fifth and final claim is in regard to how the Nook permits users to annotate text.

B&N: Microsoft Attempting to "Eliminate Competition"

Barnes & Noble says these patent claims are unfair, and were designed by Microsoft to "[misuse] these patents as part of a scheme to try to eliminate 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." (Source:

Barnes & Noble has requested a jury trial at the federal level to determine whether Microsoft has acted in a monopolistic way.

Insiders Not Convinced of Barnes & Noble Claims

Fortunately for Microsoft, insiders seem to believe that Barnes & Noble's argument is weak. "The broad accusations that Barnes & Noble makes aren't supported by evidence," said intellectual property (IP) analyst, Florien Mueller.

"If the way a company uses its patents crosses the line between reasonable monetization efforts and the destruction of legitimate competition, it has to be stopped," Mueller added.

"But if companies cry foul over allegedly anticompetitive conduct even though a reasonable license deal is proposed, it only becomes harder to make the case when there really is a need to present a competition argument." (Source:

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