Microsoft sues Barnes & Noble, Foxconn over Android eReader

Redmond software giant Microsoft has announced it will file suit against Barnes & Noble, Foxconn, and Inventec for patent infringement. The three, seemingly unrelated companies collaborate to manufacture the Barnes & Noble branded, Android-based eReader. “The Android platform infringes a number of Microsoft’s patents, and companies manufacturing and shipping Android devices must respect our intellectual property rights,” said Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft’s Deputy General Counsel. Microsoft has setup a patent licensing program for Android vendors to mitigate instances of infringement upon the patents in question — Taiwanese company HTC subscribes to said program. “We have tried for over a year to reach licensing agreements with Barnes & Noble, Foxconn and Inventec” Gutierrez added. “Their refusals to take licenses leave us no choice but to bring legal action to defend our innovations.” The full press release is after the break.

Microsoft Takes Legal Action Against Barnes & Noble, Foxconn and Inventec for Patent Infringement by Android Devices

Statement from Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing

REDMOND, Wash., March 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Microsoft Corp. today filed legal actions in the International Trade Commission and the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Washington against Barnes & Noble, Inc. and its device manufacturers, Foxconn International Holdings Ltd. and Inventec Corporation, for patent infringement by their Android-based e-reader and tablet devices that are marketed under the Barnes & Noble brand.

“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,” said Horacio Gutierrez, Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Intellectual Property & Licensing. “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 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,” he added.

The patents at issue 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.

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