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David Boies (Photo by Doc Searls via Flickr.)

Well, this should be interesting. David Boies, the lawyer who represented the U.S. Justice Department in its landmark antitrust case against Microsoft, has been retained by Barnes & Noble in its patent battle with the Redmond company over the use of Android in the Nook e-reader.

The news was made public in a filing this week, first reported by the FOSS Patents blog and noted by CNet News.com.

It makes sense in part because Barnes & Noble, responding to Microsoft’s patent suit, has alleged that the Redmond company is engaged in anti-competitive behavior in its quest to to win licensing royalties from Android device makers.

The bookseller made its case to U.S. Justice Department officials in a presentation this summer, accompanied by a 29-page slide deck in which it compared the threat Android poses to Microsoft today to the threats Java and Netscape posed to the company back in the day.

Microsoft says Android violates its intellectual property, and the company considers patent licensing deals such as those it has struck with other Android device makers to be a natural part of the 21st Century technology economy.

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 legal executives Brad Smith and Horacio Gutierrez at the time.

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