Microsoft sues Google (again), this time via Barnes & Noble's Nook

Microsoft is once again filing suit against Google’s Android mobile operating system, this time through Barnes & Noble’s Nook eReader. This isn’t the first time Microsoft has filed suit against Google through proxy; Motorola also suffered through a Microsoft lawsuit over their smartphone lineup. The allegations remain basically the same. In an official statement, Microsoft acknowledges that there has been a filing of legal action in the International Trade Commission and the US District Court of Washington against B&N and its primary manufacturers, Foxconn and Inventec.

The patents under scrutiny include "innovations that cover a range of functionality embodied in Android devices that are essential to the user experience, including: natural ways of interacting with devices by tabbing through various screens to find the information they need; surfing the Web more quickly, and interacting with documents and e-books."

Microsoft claims that it has tried to establish a working agreement with manufacturers of Android devices to help align companies with the patent licensure that Microsoft expects of them. HTC has already signed such a contract, and the refusal of Foxconn, Inventec, and Barnes & Noble to sign agreements is spurring the legal action.

According to Horacio Gutierrez, Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Intellectual Property & Licensing,

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.

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Microsoft is going the way of S.E.A. (owners of the "ARC" which sued PKZIP - giving lawyers lots of $$, and forgetting their core business. If you want a good $ job, get out of computers & into corporate law. Then M$ will truly love you.

M$ has already lost millions (billions?) in international and USA nation government fines. If I was $$ obsessed, I should have been a lawyer, instead of CEO of so many charities.

Greg Zeng, Australian Capital Territory

Microsoft is basically just firing warning shots, as they have nuclear weapons when it comes to technology patents, with a lot of them being for litigation defense from patent trolls, but also a lot of them with legitimate innovations.

Just this patent alone, which is a concept that Microsoft came up with for mobile touch devices, is powerful enough to destroy the mobile device and smartphone market.

http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=d36fAAAAEBAJ
(Go directly to the diagrams if you want a quick understanding.)

Sadly, because we all use and take these types of gestures and navigation for granted today, it seems simple, but back in the late 90s when Microsoft was adding gesture support to WinCE devices and tablets, it was new.

(I know about a few of these patents because our company also had keyboard and gesture based software in the 90s, and Microsoft was defining the migration of real world interactions into digital device interactions.)

Spend some time looking up Microsoft patents. You would be surprised at some of the technology that orginated in Microsoft R&D that is used everywhere today that Microsoft could legitimately litigate.

Even your phone's touch screen vibrating and creating a physical presence or response is something directly out of Microsoft R&D in the 90s. (It is also the first thing an Android user will notice when unlocking their phone, as the haptic feedback is exactly what the patent covers.)

From spelling mistakes being highlighted in realtime (red squiggle lines) to various GPU technology patents and concepts we use everywhere; it is staggering to realize how much of what is used outside of the Windows ecosystem is technology invented by Microsoft.

If you have the time and want to follow the rabbit in patent land, just look up Microsoft patents on very specific concepts and technologies that you are familar with.

So if you ware a gamer or game programmer, dig into GPU shader technologies, and also shader languages. You will be surprised to find a lot of stuff that people think came from Nvidia or ATI or OpenGL ARB or 3dFx, is hardware and corresponding software concepts designed by Microsoft.

Heck just in shader language technologies alone, you can go from the original XBox and DirectX8 to Cg, to GLSL, and even trace Microsoft's technology to the heart of OpenCL. - Imagine that legal crap storm if Microsoft wanted to be nasty.

thenetavenger said,
Microsoft is basically just firing warning shots, as they have nuclear weapons when it comes to technology patents, with a lot of them being for litigation defense from patent trolls, but also a lot of them with legitimate innovations.

Just this patent alone, which is a concept that Microsoft came up with for mobile touch devices, is powerful enough to destroy the mobile device and smartphone market.

http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=d36fAAAAEBAJ
(Go directly to the diagrams if you want a quick understanding.)

Sadly, because we all use and take these types of gestures and navigation for granted today, it seems simple, but back in the late 90s when Microsoft was adding gesture support to WinCE devices and tablets, it was new.

(I know about a few of these patents because our company also had keyboard and gesture based software in the 90s, and Microsoft was defining the migration of real world interactions into digital device interactions.)

Spend some time looking up Microsoft patents. You would be surprised at some of the technology that orginated in Microsoft R&D that is used everywhere today that Microsoft could legitimately litigate.

Even your phone's touch screen vibrating and creating a physical presence or response is something directly out of Microsoft R&D in the 90s. (It is also the first thing an Android user will notice when unlocking their phone, as the haptic feedback is exactly what the patent covers.)

From spelling mistakes being highlighted in realtime (red squiggle lines) to various GPU technology patents and concepts we use everywhere; it is staggering to realize how much of what is used outside of the Windows ecosystem is technology invented by Microsoft.

If you have the time and want to follow the rabbit in patent land, just look up Microsoft patents on very specific concepts and technologies that you are familar with.

So if you ware a gamer or game programmer, dig into GPU shader technologies, and also shader languages. You will be surprised to find a lot of stuff that people think came from Nvidia or ATI or OpenGL ARB or 3dFx, is hardware and corresponding software concepts designed by Microsoft.

Heck just in shader language technologies alone, you can go from the original XBox and DirectX8 to Cg, to GLSL, and even trace Microsoft's technology to the heart of OpenCL. - Imagine that legal crap storm if Microsoft wanted to be nasty.

AWESOME POST BUDDY +1,000,000

AnotherITguy said,
Keep in mind, secretly Microsoft and Apple share a common enemy "ANDROID" therefore they wont sue apple.

Apple and Microsoft have cross-licensing agreements that probably include these things.

AnotherITguy said,
Keep in mind, secretly Microsoft and Apple share a common enemy "ANDROID" therefore they wont sue apple.

They've been in cahoots for sometime. United by their common interest in H.264 and hatred of Android, they seek to monitise and proprietise what should be free to all. Most people in the Microsoft and Apple camps are unaware of this interesting fact.

I am surprised that these kind of things are even patentable.
They seem so obvious to anyone who writes software.

figgy said,
I am surprised that these kind of things are even patentable.
They seem so obvious to anyone who writes software.

I would reserve judgement until I actually saw the patent. A 5 word description of a patent is useless.

figgy said,
I am surprised that these kind of things are even patentable.
They seem so obvious to anyone who writes software.

Not defending the patent, but something that is obvious now might not have been at the time they patented it.

1. Why is there no link to the source?
2. No, hey are not suing Google via Barnes & Noble, they are suing Barnes & Noble for not paying certain licensing fees that other manufacturers using android do.

"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."

Leonick said,
1. Why is there no link to the source?

Good question. I see the link for the older lawsuit, but not the one discussed in this article.

Leonick said,
1. Why is there no link to the source?

What? It's right there, you even quoted it in your comment.

Leonick said,

2. No, hey are not suing Google via Barnes & Noble, they are suing Barnes & Noble for not paying certain licensing fees that other manufacturers using android do.

Licence fees for a dubious and untested FAT long/short file names patent? LOL. B & N should just stick two fingers up at Microsoft's trolling like Motorola did.

Mike Brown said,

What? It's right there, you even quoted it in your comment.

No I didn't my quote I got from an article on the subject on Engadget, who BTW got it right and had a link to a "blog" post on Microsoft's site as source.

Flawed said,

Licence fees for a dubious and untested FAT long/short file names patent? LOL. B & N should just stick two fingers up at Microsoft's trolling like Motorola did.

Yea sure should, patents for these things are stupid. Still, as long as the patent system works as it does and MS got the patents there is no wrong with them making sure everyone using what is patented is paying for it. Who is the biggest as really? MS for protecting a patent they hold or Barnes & Noble trying to get away with not paying for things that their competitors do?

As much as I dislike patent laws, Microsoft was actually one of the first innovators in the smartphone segment so they have a right to defend their intellectual property.

floopy said,
As much as I dislike patent laws, Microsoft was actually one of the first innovators in the smartphone segment so they have a right to defend their intellectual property.

Just because they were one of the first to market, doesn't mean they invented everything. They always use vague terms that could cover several different areas. How can you patent "ways to surf the web more quickly"? Like they've created the only ways to do that?

farmeunit said,

Just because they were one of the first to market, doesn't mean they invented everything. They always use vague terms that could cover several different areas. How can you patent "ways to surf the web more quickly"? Like they've created the only ways to do that?


They didn't patent 'surfing the web more quickly,' they have a patent that pertains to a specific way to allow surfing the web more quickly.

omnicoder said,

They didn't patent 'surfing the web more quickly,' they have a patent that pertains to a specific way to allow surfing the web more quickly.

I said "ways to surf". I can see patenting a browser process, but a user action? I'd like to see detail about how Android does it exactly as MS designed it to be.

It's like patenting patenting pants and saying parachute pants are exactly the same as corduroys. "You can't make those because they have 2 legs, just like mine!"

Seriously?

floopy said,
As much as I dislike patent laws, Microsoft was actually one of the first innovators in the smartphone segment so they have a right to defend their intellectual property.

A mechanism for storing long and short files names is not innovation, nor has it anything to do with smartphones. This is the same nonsense patent Microsoft trumpets every time it sues anything open source. One I might add that has been invalidated previously and then reinstated, and yet to be tested in a court of law. Innovation? Not a chance. Patent trolling to discourage companies from working with android? Absolutely.