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Microsoft says it has filed patent infringement lawsuits against Barnes & Noble and the manufacturers of its Nook e-reader, based on the Redmond company’s assertion that the Android operating system violates its intellectual property.

The lawsuits, naming manufacturers Foxconn and Inventec in addition to the book giant, were filed in the U.S. District Court in Seattle and the International Trade Commission. Microsoft says the patents in dispute “cover a range of functionality embodied in Android devices that are essential to the user experience, including: natural ways of interacting with devices by tabbing through various screens to find the information they need; surfing the Web more quickly, and interacting with documents and e-books.”

[Follow-up: Details on the patents Microsoft is using to sue Barnes & Noble]

Microsoft filed a similar action last year against Motorola, over its use of Android. The company’s claims against Android first became apparent earlier last year, when it reached a patent deal with HTC over Android.

Here’s the statement on the new case from Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing.

“The Android platform infringes a number of Microsoft’s patents, and companies manufacturing and shipping Android devices must respect our intellectual property rights.  To facilitate that we have established an industry-wide patent licensing program for Android device manufacturers. Other vendors, including HTC, a market leader in Android smartphones, have taken a license under this program, and we have tried for over a year to reach licensing agreements with Barnes & Noble, Foxconn and Inventec. Their refusals to take licenses leave us no choice but to bring legal action to defend our innovations and fulfill our responsibility to our customers, partners, and shareholders to safeguard the billions of dollars we invest each year to bring great software products and services to market.”

Update: Here is Microsoft’s statement on the issue. A Barnes & Noble spokeswoman said via phone that the company doesn’t comment on litigation as a matter of policy.

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