Are Microsoft's patent claims against Android FUD?

Are Microsoft's patent claims against Android FUD?

Summary: Netscape, Mosaic, Adobe, the W3C, the Acorn and even Richard Stallman himself all brought to bear on Microsoft's patent claims.


If Barnes & Noble can pull together a 43-page document listing hundreds of examples of prior art to challenge claims made by Microsoft that Android infringes on its patents, then has Microsoft's entire claim against Android been shown up to be FUD?

FUD - Fear, uncertainty, doubt. It's a powerful tool. IBM understood how powerful it was back as the 1970s, but by the 1990s Microsoft had embraced it as its primary marketing tool, even 'out FUD-ding' IBM. Leaked Microsoft documents even make reference to FUD as a valid tactic.

So is Microsoft engaging in a FUD war against Android?

I've now had some time to go through the prior art document that Barnes & Noble has submitted to the courts, and it's a big list. It specifically challenges the five patents (5,778,372, 5,889,5226,339,780, 6,891,551 and 6,957,233) that Microsoft has wielded against Android so far. The prior art dug up here includes numerous references to Netscape, Mosaic, Adobe and the W3C. It also references material published by Microsoft during the 1990s. The Acorn A5000 Welcome Guide is in there. Even Richard Stallman's GNU Emacs Manual from 1994 is listed as prior art for patent 6,891,551. The oldest reference I can find in that list is to a paper from 1972 by Alan C. Kay of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center called A Personal Computer for Children of All Ages. There's stuff in that list that I'd forgotten had even existed, and there's stuff I never knew had existed. It's a fantastic trip into the past!

Note: Oh, and if someone is looking for prior art related to the tablet, take a look at this image from Kay's 1972 paper A Personal Computer for Children of All Ages:

Kinda looks like those kids have tablets to me!

Like i said, it's a big list.

I think that Barnes & Noble's law firm (Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP) have done an excellent job of scouring the archives for prior art. It's hard to know if all of it is relevant (those issues are for the courts to decide), but there's a lot in there that certainly seems compelling. At the very least, the document shows how trivial the patents that Microsoft is wielding here actually are.

If these are the best patent infringement claims that Microsoft can bring against Android, then they do indeed seem pretty trivial and FUDdy to me, and there's a lot of prior art out there that brings their validity into serious doubt. With so much prior art (and prior art that Microsoft itself must have been aware of), it's hard to take these patents seriously.

If nothing else, it all goes to show how broken the software patent system actually is.

[poll id="710"]


Topics: Legal, Android, Google, Microsoft

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  • RE: Are Microsoft's patent claims against Android FUD?

    Is it me or do I sense some anti-MS behaviour from Adrian Kingsley-Hughes ? I read some articles and first of all he's repeating himself here over an article he posted very recently and second I tend to notice a patern in his writing...

    Anyway, MS is goingto win this one and B&N will wish they just signed the deal when they had the chance.
    • RE: Are Microsoft's patent claims against Android FUD?

      Nice proven with FACTS statement.

      Yes it is against MS.

      Aren't you against company which wants to get money for not theirs ideas?

      Or are you sugesting that those 43 pages of prior art are just rubish?

      Come one read that article again, do not stop just at title!
      • RE: Are Microsoft's patent claims against Android FUD?

        If it's their patent and someone or company is using the patent without Microsoft's approval, then, I would think the offending company and/or person is trying to get money off of Microsoft's ideas. No?
      • RE: Are Microsoft's patent claims against Android FUD?

        @windozefreak: Sorry, but you're assuming too much. You assume the patents are valid, that there are infringement, that Microsoft came up with the ideas themselves, etc...
        ALL those claims are being challenged here!
      • RE: Are Microsoft's patent claims against Android FUD?

        @Natanael_L: Or, you and our blogger here are assuming too much. That ANY of the 43 pages of prior art actually goes against the patents in question.

        That said, I will be interested to see how the court rules. Remember, Apple got the Galaxy Tablet banned in Germany because it was the same size and shape as the iPad.
    • Win *what* one?

      You mean the B&N lawsuit or the Google one they're trying to run away from? If they are too scared to face Google in court, yet they're claiming Google infringes their patents, it means they have nothing that would stand up in court. <br><br>You'll note Ballmer never goes on record as to the terms he agreed with Samsung and it appears that every settlement has been zero sum deal so far. Except the Nokia one which was apparently $1B to Nokia.<br><br>It's like a rerun of SCO, only SCO is now a patent troll called 'MOSAID Technologies' which is registered outside the USA to avoid USA legal scrutiny presumably. If you notice their YouTube videos, this one(link below) for example had *1* view before Groklaw linked to it, literally the only person who had watched their 'message to investors' was Pam of Groklaw! You don't get much more of a fake shell company than that!<br><br>youtube dot com/watch?v=Bdq3_jtOy_E&feature=related<br><br>So we're back in SCO land, and the sooner the courts dig into what Microsoft and its fronts are up to, the better. It seems Ballmer is a one trick pony and didn't learn anything from the last time.<br><br>----<br>Wallstreet is a Ponzi scheme.
      • OO lookie here...


        "[MOSAID] is getting bought out by a private equity firm, Sterling Partners, for $590 million."

        "What???s interesting is that it seems that while these 2,000 patents were Nokia???s in name at the time of the transaction???with no mention of Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) in the news of the original deal???now their transfer to Sterling seemed to require the approval of both Microsoft and Nokia: this article in Reuters notes that the approval of both has already been granted."

        "A Nokia spokesperson, for the record, offers no detail on this: ???The terms of the original transaction were confidential, so I cannot comment on those nor at present on any potential acquisition of MOSAID,???"

        Wow stinky, never seen that before, oh wait, I mean I HAVE seen that before. SCO Mk 2!

        And sure enough patent trolls dream big:

        "John Lindgren, has said that the revenue that MOSAID could generate from the licensing could exceed $1 billion, or all the revenue that MOSAID has made since first being established in 1975."
      • RE: Are Microsoft's patent claims against Android FUD?

        @guihombre They're not "running away from" sueing Google- Google makes no money directly from their little android OS, just from ad revenue generated by android losers, uh, users. Since there is no direct profit to Google and "damages" are based on actual harm caused by an entity using a specific product to harm the maker or co-maker of said product- that means that Google, who gives away android, has not itself inflicted financial damages on Microsoft, but makers of devices that use the "free" android OS do make money from it and therefore damages, in the legal sense, have occurred- do you understand that at all, or are you just one more ABMer like Adrian Kingsley-Hughes and choose to ignore facts that conflict with your opinion? If there was no merit to Microsoft's claims of IP infringement then why have so many makers of devices that run android agreed to license specific patents from Microsoft? And don't fall back on the flimsy "it's cheaper to settle than to fight a company the size of Microsoft" because many of the signees certainly could afford a court with Microsoft but obviously decided that rather than fight and lose it's easier to pay what's rightfully owed.
        By the way, when an OS is given away for free that should be a clue as to its value.
      • RE: Are Microsoft's patent claims against Android FUD?

        @xplorer1959: Uhm, you seriously don't understand how much more resources MS has. They could actually even harm Samsung seriously just by a lawsuit over phones, and those guys are into pretty much everything.
        Microsoft has a faaaar more "experienced" legal department too.

        Also, check the real price to OEMs for Windows OEM copies. It's not really near the $100's...
      • RE: Are Microsoft's patent claims against Android FUD?

        @xplorer1959 what about all the IP that Microsoft products infringe upon? Or do you choose to ignore facts that conflict with your NBM opinion?
    • RE: Are Microsoft's patent claims against Android FUD?

  • Yes, it's FUD

    MS sees Android as a threat. And they are trying to prevent the shift away from Windows.

    So yes it's FUD and I hope B&N wins big!
    • Yes, I do detect a bit of FUD

      but it is comming from you, and other "anti-Microsoft" users of this site, not Microsoft.
      Tim Cook
      • And because Mr. Faux Pointy Ears says it's so...

        ... then that must make it so...
      • Look who is pumping the FUD now.....

        @Mister Spock

        Microsoft is on quicksand and if they start a patent war, they are going to sink. Heck...Asimov spoke of desktop computers in his Sci-Fi novels long before Microsoft was a company! No, you NBM'ers just hate it when you are wrong, and will march of the cliff before realizing that. So sad to waste your lives like that.
        linux for me
  • RE: Are Microsoft's patent claims against Android FUD?

    ...over 50% of all manufacturers using Android OS on their devices have signed up with Microsoft. Does anybody really believes that those companies were so stupid or ignorant that they did not check in details and carefully if the claims from Microsoft are solid and justified before staring to pay license-fees? Does anybody really believe that they need a book seller to come up with this "prior act" idea? Ask Samsung how "prior act" on tablett shape is helping them in their fight with Apple.....
    • It's 'prior art' nimrod

      Read a book.
      Dietrich T. Schmitz *Your
      • RE: Are Microsoft's patent claims against Android FUD?

        @Dietrich T. Schmitz * Your Linux Advocate <br><br>He is not interested in reading a book,
        but just extort/suing the sellers of books.<br><br>PS. B&N have read and do sell the book on prior art.
      • I see. So an obvious mistype, and he is labeled &quot;a nimrod&quot;?

        @Dietrich T. Schmitz * Your Linux Advocate
        This is clearly telling of those doing the labeling.
        Tim Cook
      • RE: Are Microsoft's patent claims against Android FUD?

        @Dietrich T. Schmitz * Your Linux Advocate
        With just this post, i.e. name calling you lost my respect. Peace.
        Ram U