ITC attorney backs Barnes & Noble in Microsoft patent case

Barnes & Noble on Monday received some potentially good news following the rejection of its antitrust suit against Microsoft earlier this month. Microsoft is looking to halt the import of the bookseller’s Nook slates, claiming the devices infringe three Microsoft patents. Barnes & Noble argued that the patents in question are invalid because they do not cover new inventions, and the company has a new ally. Jeff Hsu, a staff attorney at the U.S. International Trade Commission, told Bloomberg he recommended that ITC Judge Theodore Essex rule that there is no violation by Barnes & Noble. Microsoft said the recommendation was made before evidence was presented, and it believes Hsu’s opinion may change once the trial gets underway. Bloomberg notes, however, that the ITC staff acts as a third party in the case and there’s no requirement that the judge follow any recommendations. Microsoft claims the Android operating system found on Barnes & Noble’s Nook eReader utilizes its protected technology, and the software giant has signed agreements with roughly 70% of Android vendors in the United States to license the technology in question. Judge Essex is expected to release his findings on April 27th.

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