Barnes and Noble Seeks Government Investigation Of Microsoft Patent Claims

Ryan Whitwam

Over the last year, Microsoft has embarked on a crusade to secure license fees from device makers that use the Android operating system. While Google provides the Android source code for free, Microsoft claims to own patents infringed by Android. most OEMs have capitulated and payed up, but Barnes and Noble, which sells the Nook line of e-readers, has gone to court. Today, the bookseller turned tablet-pusher has asked the feds to get involved. B&N claims that regulators should investigate Microsoft for attempting to drive competition out of business.

Barnes and Noble doesn’t pull any punches in calling calling Microsoft’s five Android patents “trivial and outmoded.” Already Samsung, HTC, and assorted ODMs are paying Microsoft for every Android device sold. Barnes and Noble claims that Redmond is seeking to prevent it from competing with upcoming devices by increasing costs on its low-cost reading devices.

Microsoft has asked the International Trade Commission to block imports of Nook devices, but these actions usually fail. The civil case is set to go ahead in February, and neither side seems likely to back down.

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