Microsoft sues Barnes & Noble over Android

Microsoft has filed a patent lawsuit against bookseller Barnes & Noble, accusing the company of running infringing software on its Android-based Nook e-reader.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court of the Western District of Washington, also names device manufacturers Foxconn International Holdings and Inventec, Microsoft said. Accompanying the lawsuit is a complaint at the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC), which has the power to ban imports into the U.S. of devices that infringe patents.

Microsoft alleges that Android, the mobile OS developed by Google, infringes several of its patents.

"Companies manufacturing and shipping Android devices must respect our intellectual property rights," Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft's corporate vice president and deputy general counsel for intellectual property and licensing, said in a statement. "To facilitate that we have established an industry-wide patent licensing program for Android device manufacturers."

Other users of Android, including smartphone maker HTC, have licensed the Microsoft technology, Gutierrez noted. "We have tried for over a year to reach licensing agreements with Barnes & Noble, Foxconn and Inventec," he said. "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."

A Barnes and Noble spokeswoman declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Microsoft filed a lawsuit and USITC complaint against Motorola over Android in October. In addition, in December, Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen amended a lawsuit against 11 companies to include a patent complaint against Android.

In addition, Oracle filed a patent and copyright lawsuit against Google last August, alleging that Android infringes Java's copyrights.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

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