Barnes and Noble wants Microsoft probed about patent deals

Microsoft has been making a lot of deals recently with various makers of Android-based smartphones and tablets and Barnes and Noble thinks someone should look into it. News.com reports that the bookseller and the maker of the Android-powered Nook Color and the upcoming Nook Tablet is requesting the Department of Justice investigate Microsoft's patent agreements.

Microsoft has contended that companies that sell smartphones based on Google's mobile operating system use patents that Microsoft owns. Instead of going after Google itself, Microsoft has chosen to make deals with the smartphone makers like Samsung, HTC and others that give Microsoft royalty payments for each device sold.

Barnes and Noble has so far refused to give in to Microsoft's tactics and Microsoft decided to sue Barnes and Noble back in March on charges of patent infringement. In its letter to the DOJ, Barnes and Noble asked the federal government to look into Microsoft's dealings in this matter, saying, "Microsoft is embarking on a campaign of asserting trivial and outmoded patents against manufacturers of Android devices."

If Barnes and Noble manages to prove that Microsoft's patent agreements are invalid it could be a huge blow for Microsoft which is trying to get smartphone makers to use its own Windows Phone operating system. But if the decision goes in Microsoft favor the company could force any smartphone maker who uses Android to pay a royalty fee.

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Why are people bashing on Microsoft? Obviously, they do own patents that are used in Android or other major companies wouldn't sign agreements with Microsoft in the first place. All of them have teams of lawyers and obviously there's a strong valid case that compell them to do so.

deundead said,
Why are people bashing on Microsoft? Obviously, they do own patents that are used in Android or other major companies wouldn't sign agreements with Microsoft in the first place. All of them have teams of lawyers and obviously there's a strong valid case that compell them to do so.

The point is that Microsoft often asserts its patents against any commercial company that employs the Linux kernel, not just Android. Don't be fooled, this is a direct assault on free software and GNU/Linux.

Microsoft's patents have never been tested in court, so to assume they are valid is illogical. Just look at how many patents have been invalided so far in Oracle vs Google and Apple vs Samsung.

Joey S said,

The point is that Microsoft often asserts its patents against any commercial company that employs the Linux kernel, not just Android. Don't be fooled, this is a direct assault on free software and GNU/Linux.

Microsoft's patents have never been tested in court, so to assume they are valid is illogical. Just look at how many patents have been invalided so far in Oracle vs Google and Apple vs Samsung.

Considering these companies are so quick to work out licensing arrangements, I'd say right there that there's some validity to these patent claims. But, just like every other time, you'll completely ignore that as it goes against your goal to troll every Microsoft news story...

Whichever way this falls, I can only see it as a good thing as this issue needs to be settled once and for all, and the patents MS are holding over the OEM's heads need to be made public so that everyone knows exactly what technologies they're claiming ownership of.
.

FloatingFatMan said,
Whichever way this falls, I can only see it as a good thing as this issue needs to be settled once and for all, and the patents MS are holding over the OEM's heads need to be made public so that everyone knows exactly what technologies they're claiming ownership of.
.

Agreed. Let's put Microsoft's claims to the test. I'm looking forward to this.

I don't understand why are they going after the phone makers, and not Google. and why isn't Google doing more to help phone makers. if I choose to make a phone, and decided to use android, which is free, im selling the phone and not the OS. And if Google are using other people works and not there own, then they should be the ones sued. Google produce a good product, and but it seems they are happy to let the phone makers take all the blame!

lflashl said,
I don't understand why are they going after the phone makers, and not Google. and why isn't Google doing more to help phone makers. if I choose to make a phone, and decided to use android, which is free, im selling the phone and not the OS. And if Google are using other people works and not there own, then they should be the ones sued. Google produce a good product, and but it seems they are happy to let the phone makers take all the blame!

I believe the problem is that ā€œGā€ is not the one implementing the OS but the manufacturers.

The weird part about this situation, and compare to what Apple is trying to do with Android devices, I don't think "G" should worry about this since MS is not stopping them from being sold - just want its fair share for its IPs.

Granted, MS COULD PROBABLY stop all the sale of Android, but why stop if they can also profit from it. From my point of view, both side wins - android is still out there, and MS is getting paid for their IPs, and business is business.

lflashl said,
I don't understand why are they going after the phone makers, and not Google. and why isn't Google doing more to help phone makers. if I choose to make a phone, and decided to use android, which is free, im selling the phone and not the OS. And if Google are using other people works and not there own, then they should be the ones sued. Google produce a good product, and but it seems they are happy to let the phone makers take all the blame!

It's hard to target Google since the Google itself doesn't sell the stolen goods (Android) or sell products based on it.
I wonder what will happen with Motorola.

RealFduch said,

It's hard to target Google since the Google itself doesn't sell the stolen goods (Android) or sell products based on it.
I wonder what will happen with Motorola.

Yes it does. Google sells the Nexus line of phones. Microsoft is double, and even triple dipping in some cases, with its patent threats. Microsoft knows Google would fight back, that's why. As in the case of Oracle.

It's funny how you refer to stolen goods. You do understand how patents work right? It's virtually impossible to write software these days without violating a patent (in the US at least). Patents don't cover the implementation, but the ideas involved, many of which are patently obvious and logical. I think you're confusing it with copyright.

If two people on different continents arrive at the same logical method of doing a task, and one of them arrived at it sooner, does that mean the second person stole the idea? No, that's ludicrous. That's the kind of thing that's happening all the time now in software. No other industry has both copyright and patent protections. This is only exacerbated by the USPO's eagerness to grant patents despite a wealth of prior art available.

Edited by Joey S, Nov 9 2011, 9:21am :

lflashl said,
I don't understand why are they going after the phone makers, and not Google. and why isn't Google doing more to help phone makers. if I choose to make a phone, and decided to use android, which is free, im selling the phone and not the OS. And if Google are using other people works and not there own, then they should be the ones sued. Google produce a good product, and but it seems they are happy to let the phone makers take all the blame!

Google basically offers no support whatsoever to their OEM's... They won't offer any sort of patent protection because they know that they are in violation of countless patents and even directly ripped code from competitors... On the flip side, companies *could* sue Dell for instance for selling computers with Windows that violate their patents, but Microsoft wisely offers patent protection and steps in whenever something like this occurs...

I would like to see someone call Microsoft's bluff. Anyone with half a brain knows they make false accusations in order to scare phone manufactures into using Windows Phone 7.

naquis said,
I would like to see someone call Microsoft's bluff. Anyone with half a brain knows they make false accusations in order to scare phone manufactures into using Windows Phone 7.

With your half a brain, are you implying that Microsoft does not own patents that Android uses? And that over half of Android manufactures do NOT have the half a brain they would need to NOT sign patent protection deals with MS?

MASposts said,

With your half a brain, are you implying that Microsoft does not own patents that Android uses?

Microsoft claims the Linux kernel is using their patents as well. We all know how ridiculous that is. Take a moment and have a look at the patents in question. They are a decade old and completely unrelated to mobile. Microsoft, as the op stated, is using its patents as a way to force OEM's to continue producing Windows Phones. That's called anti-trust.
MASposts said,

And that over half of Android manufactures do NOT have the half a brain they would need to NOT sign patent protection deals with MS?

So you advocate participating in Microsoft's mafia style protection racket? Well congratulations!

naquis said,
I would like to see someone call Microsoft's bluff. People with half a brain knows they make false accusations in order to scare phone manufactures into using Windows Phone 7.

Fixed it for you...

So Microsoft is "trying to get smartphone makers to use its own Windows Phone operating system", implying that Microsoft is blackmailing these companies? And all of them rolled over so easily but fight apple in the exact same scenario? Nice one.

efjay said,
So Microsoft is "trying to get smartphone makers to use its own Windows Phone operating system", implying that Microsoft is blackmailing these companies? And all of them rolled over so easily but fight apple in the exact same scenario? Nice one.

Exactly. No OEM manufactures/use Apple's OS , while Many need Microsoft for Windows and Office and servers... So yes, Microsoft is extorting these OEMs.

efjay said,
So Microsoft is "trying to get smartphone makers to use its own Windows Phone operating system", implying that Microsoft is blackmailing these companies? And all of them rolled over so easily but fight apple in the exact same scenario? Nice one.

So, going to court is now blackmailing? Think what you say next time, plz.

efjay said,
So Microsoft is "trying to get smartphone makers to use its own Windows Phone operating system", implying that Microsoft is blackmailing these companies?

It's not an implication. An implication suggests the possibility of doubt, when it's definitive what Microsoft's doing here with the NDA's. It's trying to hide the fact that it's forcing top OEM's into Windows Phone producing contracts with patent threats, while at the same time charging a license fee which is suspiciously similar to the one Microsoft charges to deploy the Windows Phone OS, thereby giving the impression that Android isn't free. Even their general council stated that very same claim openly. It doesn't get more explicit than that.
efjay said,

And all of them rolled over so easily but fight apple in the exact same scenario? Nice one.

Apple doesn't want to licence, it wants to ban Android devices from the market.

When you have a large company like Microsoft with very deep pockets threatening drawn out litigation, it's often cheaper to licence. Microsoft relies on this potentially bankrupting threat to continue the practise without testing their patents in court.

UndergroundWire said,
I hope Barnes & Nobel is successful.

Why do you visit this website? There many anti-MS sites out there. Why come here ?

RealFduch said,

Why do you visit this website? There many anti-MS sites out there. Why come here ?

And there are many pro-MS sites out there. Why come here?

UndergroundWire said,

I come to this site to get my Microsoft news. But you see, Microsoft doesn't do much of anything these days and there are more non-Microsoft news out there. Does it bother you somebody has a difference of opinion? If it does perhaps you shouldn't come to this site. If all you are going to do is cry about it, the Internet is not right for you.

You see the thing is with you fan boys, you love everything Microsoft. I only like their desktop operating system and their desktop office software. I've been coming to this site for a very longtime. And if you think I will stop, YOU ARE DEAD WRONG!

Now that I have answered your stupid question, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!

Microsoft doesn't do much of anything these days? Wow, that has to be one of the most confusing and least educated comments I've seen in ages...

Yeah, they aren't up to anything at all...

M_Lyons10 said,

Microsoft doesn't do much of anything these days? Wow, that has to be one of the most confusing and least educated comments I've seen in ages...

Yeah, they aren't up to anything at all...

Windows Phone event going on. No real news.
Windows 8 no real news.
Microsoft Office No real news.

What news worthy item came out of Microsoft. Making deals with Android? C'mon give me NEWS!

Hey Barnes&Noble,

How would you like it if I walked into your store, stole a bunch of books, and then get this SOLD them to other people. Thats what you are doing when you sell an Android device. Google obviously can't come up with anything original and just steal what other people put the blood sweat and tears into. Its time to pay the piper I say. I hope Microsoft sues you into oblivion and Google with it.

redavenger said,
Hey Barnes&Noble,

How would you like it if I walked into your store, stole a bunch of books, and then get this SOLD them to other people. Thats what you are doing when you sell an Android device. Google obviously can't come up with anything original and just steal what other people put the blood sweat and tears into. Its time to pay the piper I say. I hope Microsoft sues you into oblivion and Google with it.

Right there with you, Go MS!

redavenger said,
Hey Barnes&Noble,

How would you like it if I walked into your store, stole a bunch of books, and then get this SOLD them to other people. Thats what you are doing when you sell an Android device. Google obviously can't come up with anything original and just steal what other people put the blood sweat and tears into. Its time to pay the piper I say. I hope Microsoft sues you into oblivion and Google with it.

If you aren't a fanboy I don't know who is. LMAO

redavenger said,
Hey Barnes&Noble,

How would you like it if I walked into your store, stole a bunch of books, and then get this SOLD them to other people. Thats what you are doing when you sell an Android device. Google obviously can't come up with anything original and just steal what other people put the blood sweat and tears into. Its time to pay the piper I say. I hope Microsoft sues you into oblivion and Google with it.

The correct analogy would be: Some guy stole the books from the store, inserted tons of ads between the pages and gave them away for free. That person now pleads to be innocent since he didn't sell the stolen books for money, but gave them away for free, profiting from the inserted ads.

redavenger said,
Hey Barnes&Noble,
How would you like it if I walked into your store, stole a bunch of books, and then get this SOLD them to other people.

That's called stealing / purloining, not patent infringement. Do you have any more poorly thought out metaphors? Because if you do, the MPAA/RIAA's advertising campaigns are hiring.
redavenger said,

Thats what you are doing when you sell an Android device. Google obviously can't come up with anything original and just steal what other people put the blood sweat and tears into. Its time to pay the piper I say. I hope Microsoft sues you into oblivion and Google with it.

One of the patents in question is the FAT patent, the one that it says applies to the Linux kernel. Does that mean the Linux kernel is stolen? Haha, yeah, grow up. Microsoft uses FOSS code in their Windows OS, doesn't that mean it's stolen as well?

redavenger said,
Hey Barnes&Noble,

How would you like it if I walked into your store, stole a bunch of books, and then get this SOLD them to other people. Thats what you are doing when you sell an Android device. Google obviously can't come up with anything original and just steal what other people put the blood sweat and tears into. Its time to pay the piper I say. I hope Microsoft sues you into oblivion and Google with it.

Absolutely. All of these Android OEM's want something for free, but what do they ever offer for free? Nothing. The least they can do for a product that they SELL is license the patents it uses...

M_Lyons10 said,

Absolutely. All of these Android OEM's want something for free, but what do they ever offer for free? Nothing. The least they can do for a product that they SELL is license the patents it uses...

It is the licensing issue that is in question more than patent infringement. Patent licensing cannot ask for the entire value of the product, if the patent infringement occurs for a small subset of the product. If MS right to do this, then i4i has rights to entire MS office product revenue. Going by the logic that is shown in the board, i4i should ask for entire selling cost of MS office because it infringes on i4i's office XML patent. This is same aspect for which Samsung is being investigated in Europe for not following FRAND licensing terms.

MS has legally granted rights to practice and make money of its patents. Now does few patents have more value i.e., more than the entire WP7 OS licensing cost? FRAND aspect is missing here. No clear details on what are the patents being infringed upon by Android? FAT file system is not part of Linux Kernel. FYI, Patents are public information not a confidential information. So if MS does not disclose what patents are being infringed by Linux and Android in particular but wants licensing fee that is much more than the WP7 licensing cost then there is a problem. It is equivalent to racketing and price fixing to limit competition.

This is similar to price fixing investigation that government conducts against companies, collusion aspect.

If MS has rights to do what it wants as espoused here. Then why should not the same rule apply to Google? Remember MS is using Fairsearch.org to compete against Google and 65% market share is claimed as monopoly by MS in regards to search and MS is asking government to regulate Google. Now MS has 90+% market share in OS and why should MS be regulated in terms of FRAND for patent licensing?

Instead of calling pro or anti MS website, how about consistency across different cases? Not selective amnesia or understanding to support only certain companies.

M_Lyons10 said,

Absolutely. All of these Android OEM's want something for free, but what do they ever offer for free? Nothing. The least they can do for a product that they SELL is license the patents it uses...

What patent is it, exactly? Why does MS make everyone sign and NDA about their agreements? Because they don't want the word getting out that their claims are bogus.

smooth3006 said,
Micosoft make more money off of android than they do with wp7. Think about that...
Thought you'd post here. Too bad you're opinion doesn't matter because courts aren't butt hurt fanboys.

smooth3006 said,
Micosoft make more money off of android than they do with wp7. Think about that...

Lol you should get the "troll of the year award" seriously, every time I see you post its always....ohh windows phone doesn't sell, windows phone this, windows phone that.

smooth3006 said,
Micosoft make more money off of android than they do with wp7. Think about that...

Not expecting any evidence to be posted. Only a matter of time before the banhammer falls methinks.

smooth3006 said,
Micosoft make more money off of android than they do with wp7. Think about that...

they have the right to get payed for using their patents
don't use microsoft patents without paying and no one will rise a case on you other wise use and pay

subcld said,

they have the right to get payed for using their patents
don't use microsoft patents without paying and no one will rise a case on you other wise use and pay

No one is using their patents. If they were there would be proof, but there isn't any, and never will be.

naquis said,

No one is using their patents. If they were there would be proof, but there isn't any, and never will be.


ya sure the companies too dump

naquis said,

No one is using their patents. If they were there would be proof, but there isn't any, and never will be.

If there was no proof, why would over half of Android manufacturers (including Samsung) sign patent protection deals with MS? These companies aren't idiots--they'll only give royalties if there is *proof* that they would need to.

smooth_criminal1990 said,

Not expecting any evidence to be posted. Only a matter of time before the banhammer falls methinks.

He is right. Just look at Gartner's report. WP7 sold IN A YEAR about 5-6 Million !! or less than 20,000 per day. Compare that to 700,000 Androids per day, or 400,000 iPhones per day.

naquis said,
No one is using their patents. If they were there would be proof, but there isn't any, and never will be.

Whoa! FUD and lies, guys! Naquis is spreading them.
So, a company the size of Samsung that doesn't depend on MS has just decided to pay MS the licensing fees because they wanted too? Are you delusional? If there was any hope to prove MS wrong, Samsung (and others) would have done that.
BTW, do you think that courts didn't require proofs in all those cases?

Zealot sheep these days...

RealFduch said,

Whoa! FUD and lies, guys! Naquis is spreading them.
So, a company the size of Samsung that doesn't depend on MS has just decided to pay MS the licensing fees because they wanted too?

No, because Microsoft said pay up or else, and while you're at it, make a Windows Phone a la the mafia.
RealFduch said,

Are you delusional? If there was any hope to prove MS wrong, Samsung (and others) would have done that.

I don't think you understand how patents work. The threat of financial ruin is usually enough to force an Agreement (and NDA in Microsoft's case). However, Motorola, B&N, Foxconn and other have not yet given in to this extortion racket.
RealFduch said,

BTW, do you think that courts didn't require proofs in all those cases?

The US PTO issues patents without prior art checks (or only cursory ones), so it's quite possible Microsoft's patent claims are invalid.
RealFduch said,

Zealot sheep these days...

Right back at ya fella.

-=SEDIN=- said,

Lol you should get the "troll of the year award" seriously, every time I see you post its always....ohh windows phone doesn't sell, windows phone this, windows phone that.

+1. It's really quite embarrassing...

RealFduch said,

Patent is a monopoly? O_o

Yep. A government granted monopoly. If you thought you were living in a capitalist free market economy, think again.

boohoo, if you use ms exchange server, then pay up. Does B&N think they can go into a long lawsuit battle with MS? Their business are crumbling before amazon and they have the gut to battle MS? Goodluck!

B&N is not Borders. They are not losing money. They are a profitable company, and the Nook rivals Kindle at the very least. B&N is taking a very bold move that will be pivotal in technology.

If they fail, it will not just shake the smartphone world. It could bring down Linux. You have to remember that the basis of Microsoft's tactics revolve around Android's basis in Linux.

Voice of Buddy Christ said,
B&N is not Borders. They are not losing money. They are a profitable company, and the Nook rivals Kindle at the very least. B&N is taking a very bold move that will be pivotal in technology.

If they fail, it will not just shake the smartphone world. It could bring down Linux. You have to remember that the basis of Microsoft's tactics revolve around Android's basis in Linux.

I do not agree with Android's tactics, but I do with linux, mainly because one is developed for a commercial company and one is just OSS...it's sad that to do away with one is to (possibly) do away with the other

flexkeyboard said,
boohoo, if you use ms exchange server, then pay up. Does B&N think they can go into a long lawsuit battle with MS? Their business are crumbling before amazon and they have the gut to battle MS? Goodluck!

This isn't about "ms exchange server", this is about a decade old FAT32 (file allocation table long/short file name storage method) patent that Microsoft claims the Linux kernel violates. This is a direct attack on free software and GNU/Linux.

M_Lyons10 said,

Yes, everything should be free for Google's taking... /sarcasm...


And everything should be chargeable for Microsoft /sarcasm

flexkeyboard said,
boohoo, if you use ms exchange server, then pay up. Does B&N think they can go into a long lawsuit battle with MS? Their business are crumbling before amazon and they have the gut to battle MS? Goodluck!

Barnes & Noble is like that knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. They're getting arms and legs hacked off, and they're going around screaming insults.

$700 MM market cap, $74 MM net loss over the past year. This is not a healthy company. Plus $270 MM in net debt. Unless they can turn things around, they'll be following Borders into bankruptcy court within 4-5 years. (Sooner than that, if Amazon has anything to say about it.)

Joey S said,

This isn't about "ms exchange server", this is about a decade old FAT32 (file allocation table long/short file name storage method) patent that Microsoft claims the Linux kernel violates. This is a direct attack on free software and GNU/Linux.

No offense, but that seems like a simple patent to fight back on...unless there is merit to the claim. This should be a simple, easy win for anyone who thought they had a chance.