In response to a lawsuit brought by Microsoft claiming that Android-based Nook devices infringe on patents, Barnes & Noble has fired back, asserting that Microsoft is misusing their patents in an anti-competitive scheme against Android.
You may recall that Microsoft threatened HTC with its pile of patents last year, and HTC rolled over and agreed to pay Microsoft licensing fees, just as other companies like Amazon, LG and Samsung have done when Microsoft came knocking. But based on their strongly worded answer to Microsoft’s compaint, it appears that Barnes & Noble will not follow the same path:
“… Microsoft has asserted patents that extend only to arbitrary, outmoded, or non-essential design features, but uses these patents to demand that every manufacturer of an Android-based mobile device take a license from Microsoft and pay exorbitant licensing fees or face protracted and expensive patent infringement litigation. The asserted patents do not have a lawful scope sufficient to control the AndroidTM Operating System as Microsoft is attempting to do, and Microsoft’s misuse of these patents directly harms both competition for and consumers of all eReaders, smartphones, tablet computers and other mobile electronic devices …
“… Microsoft intends to take and has taken definite steps towards making competing operating systems such as the AndroidTM Operating System unusable and unattractive to both consumers and device manufacturers through exorbitant license fees and absurd licensing restrictions that bear no relation to the scope and subject matter of its own patents. …”
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AndroidGuys is not a lawyer, so we can’t say whether Barnes & Noble’s defense has legal merit, but we sure like that they’re fighting back! Many have voiced skepticism that Microsoft could successfully defend their claim that Linux-based operating systems like Android violate Microsoft-owned patents, so we are definitely interested to see Barnes & Noble calling their bluff.