Barnes & Noble wants U.S. to stop Microsoft’s Android patent campaign

Updated with Microsoft statement.

Barnes & Noble is asking the U.S. Justice Department to examine Microsoft’s effort to use its patents to win licensing royalties from Android device makers, according to a Bloomberg News report today.

Bloomberg quotes an Oct. 17 letter from Barnes & Noble to a top Justice Department official: “Microsoft is embarking on a campaign of asserting trivial and outmoded patents against manufacturers of Android devices. Microsoft is attempting to raise its rivals’ costs in order to drive out competition and to deter innovation in mobile devices.”

Microsoft sued Barnes & Noble earlier this year over its Android-based Nook Color device. Barnes & Noble later said Microsoft wanted “shockingly high” licensing fees, based on its claims that Android violates its patents.

The Redmond company recently said it’s seeing success with its licensing program for Android device makers, striking deals more often than it needs to resort to litigation.

“For those who continue to protest that the smartphone patent thicket is too difficult to navigate, it’s past time to wake up,” wrote Microsoft executives Brad Smith and Horacio Gutierrez at the time. “As Microsoft has entered new markets from the enterprise to the Xbox, we’ve put together comprehensive licensing programs that address not only our own needs but the needs of our customers and partners as well. As our recent agreements clearly show, Android handset manufacturers are now doing the same thing. Ultimately, that’s a good path for everyone.”

Update, 4:28 p.m.: Microsoft just issued this statement: “All modern operating systems include many patented technologies. Microsoft has taken licenses to patents for Windows and we make our patents available on reasonable terms for other operating systems, like Android. We would be pleased to extend a license to Barnes & Noble.”

  • Guest

    They’re right about MS wanting to raise the cost of Android to make it less attractive. But can the DOJ really prevent MS from seeking licensing fees for patents it feels are being infringed? And I kind of doubt the main ones are either trivial or outmoded.

    • Anonymous

      If they were that trivial, it seems to me they’d be quite easy to remove. The fact that almost every single Android OEM thought there was enough evidence to willing pay Microsoft licensing fees, speaks volumes. That is unless you think these multi-billion dollar multi-national corporations don’t have massive law teams to investigate such matters. They wouldn’t pay Microsoft unless they felt sure that they needed to.

    • Rogerpjr

      Funny!!!!!! 
      YET 23+ yrs ago. Apple Sued Microsoft for too closely copying “Apple’s ” stolen IP which was actually XEROX IP from Xerox owned ( then ) PARC. NOW ill informed history pundits get it all twisted. They say XEROX was paid to let Apple’s people SEE the Xerox STAR/ nee Altos GUI. BUT… THAT’s the catch. Xerox let them SEE it. NOT TAKE. PROOF… Xerox sued Apple when the aforementioned case was in full swing. Xerox also LOST … WHY… The attorneys at Mighty ( then ) Xerox had waited too late. So quotes attorneys at the time in the WSJ as well as other similar Journals.
      EVERYTHING APPLE has in terms of the GUI is based on XEROX PARC.. Down to the MOUSE ( now finger gestures on screens) that was invented at Stanford. And that fellow was hired by Xerox as well. Jobs even admitted that the Xerox GUI saved APPLE. Apple only had the IIE at the time. His interview is in YOUTUBE under ” I hired the Wrong Man”.
      APPLE STOLE Xerox IP. P E R I O D!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Guest

    They’re right about MS wanting to raise the cost of Android to make it less attractive. But can the DOJ really prevent MS from seeking licensing fees for patents it feels are being infringed? And I kind of doubt the main ones are either trivial or outmoded.

  • Mason B.

    Translation: “We should be able to copy Microsoft’s inventions without having to pay these inconvenient licensing fees”.  Give me a break B&N, pay up or get out.  The myth that most patents are bogus has spread for too long, these are solid patents and you are infringing them. 

    • Guest

      If the patent licensing are gone, then joy to those with fastest copying machine

    • Anonymous

      Troll or Micro$oft employee!? M$ IS STEALING the innovations! M$ is an ashole company!

    • Anonymous

      Troll or Micro$oft employee!? M$ IS STEALING the innovations! M$ is an ashole company!

      • Anonymous

        LOL! Such a compelling argument from a sycophantic Google fanboy. You’re an idiot of epic proportions.

        Microsoft isn’t stealing shit. It’s Google and it’s OEMs that are stealing other companies patents. It’s why they’re getting their ass sued off left and right from numerous companies.

    • Fie

      Oh really? How much are you being paid to post this comment? One day all the patents will be gone and the world will remember the source of these strong arm tactics.

  • Guest

    Barnes & Noble can stop paying royalties when they stop using technologies that Microsoft invented.

    • Anonymous

      And you can stikk writing bullshit or you can leave this website….. .but plz Forever!

      • Guest

        Harald, please be more constructive. You’re not going to win any friends here writing like a 1998-era Slashdot user. Please be calm and professional so that we may have an informed discussion. If you’re not prepared to do that, please take your comments to Usenet.

    • Anonymous

      And you can stikk writing bullshit or you can leave this website….. .but plz Forever!

    • Pierre Lemay

      Microsoft did not invent much, it mostly copied technologies from others and bought the patents of failing compagnies.

      • Anonymous

        LOL! Yeah right! What Google and Apple invent? Not a damn thing, that’s what.

  • https://plus.google.com/107120449807229719531/posts David Abraham

    Everybody should have thought about this when they were cheering on the patent trolls that went after Microsoft. I don’t blame them for standing up for themselves now.

    • Chris Westcott

      It’s not about that really.  The patent system is broken and regardless of it being Microsoft or any other company.  The vagueness of some of these so-called patents are shocking.  Often there is also prior-art, but people are afraid to stand up to them as it is cheaper to pay the licence than go to court.

  • Foo

    MS is pleased to accept money from all Android manufacturers.

    MS provides them with this one single benefit : We won’t sue you.

    MS would cry about being treated this same way.

    MS should be focusing on innovating for humans … not for themselves.

  • Guest

    The whole things would not be an issue if Microsoft asked a fare fee to licence its patents, not a full operating system fee or more, and did not require restrictive NDA.

    • Anonymous

      LOL! You don’t even know what they asked.