Microsoft filed a patent infringement lawsuit in International Trade Commission and the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Washington, against Barnes & Noble, the manufacturers of its e-readers on Monday March 21st. The targets: Barnes & Noble, Foxconn International Holdings and Inventec. The latter two manufacture Android e-readers sold under Barnes & Noble's nook brand.
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.
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've 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.
Excerpt 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.