Today, Microsoft filed suit against Barnes & Noble and the makers of its Nook e-reader and tablet, Foxconn International Holdings and Inventec Corporation. The claim was filed by corporate VP and deputy general counsel Horacio Gutierrez. Microsoft claims patent infringement and intellectual property theft in regards to the Android-based devices.
This is not the first time Microsoft has sued based over Android devices. In a press release, Gutierrez said:
“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. HTC, a market leader in Android smartphones, has taken a license under this program. 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.”
Gutierrez explained the legal action further in a blog post. In an attempt to articulate the seriousness of the action, he makes a point to explain that Microsoft is not a company that has been historically lawsuit happy:
“Microsoft is not a company that pursues litigation lightly. In fact, this is only our seventh proactive patent infringement suit in our 36-year history. But we simply cannot ignore infringement of this scope and scale.”
In the post he also delineates the specific patented innovations with which Microsoft takes issue:
- Give people easy ways to navigate through information provided by their device apps via a separate control window with tabs
- Enable display of a webpage’s content before the background image is received, allowing users to interact with the page faster
- Allow apps to superimpose download status on top of the downloading content
- Permit users to easily select text in a document and adjust that selection
- Provide users the ability to annotate text without changing the underlying document
The claim was filed with both the International Trade Commission and the U.S. District Court.