Microsoft sues Barnes & Noble, Foxconn, Inventec over Android e-readers

Microsoft filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Barnes & Noble and the manufacturers of its e-readers.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Microsoft on Monday filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Barnes & Noble and the manufacturers of its e-readers.

Specifically, Microsoft filed lawsuits in International Trade Commission and the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Washington. The targets: Barnes & Noble, Foxconn International Holdings and Inventec. The latter two manufacture Android e-readers sold under Barnes & Noble's nook brand.

Microsoft's patents cover everything from the user interface to tabbing through screens, document interaction and Web surfing.

From Microsoft's complaint:

Microsoft is the owner of all right, title, and interest in U.S. Patent No. 5,778,372 (the “’372 patent”), U.S. Patent No. 6,339,780 (the “’780 patent”), U.S. Patent No. 5,889,522 (the “’522 patent”), U.S. Patent No. 6,891,551 (the “’551 patent”), and U.S. Patent No. 6,957,233 (the “’233 patent”) (collectively, the “Microsoft Patents”), which Defendants are infringing and/or inducing others to infringe by making, using, offering to sell, and/or selling in the United States, and/or importing into the United States, products or processes that practice one or more inventions claimed in the Microsoft Patents.

In a statement, Microsoft's Horacio Gutierrez, Deputy General Counsel for Intellectual Property & Licensing, 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. 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.

Translation: Pay up already.

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