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Barnes & Noble complain to DoJ over Redmond nobbling

Using patents to price Android out of the market

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Barnes & Noble has reportedly complained to the US Department of Justice over Microsoft’s recent lawsuit alleging patent violations for using Android.

The company used Android on its Nook e-book reader, launched earlier this week, and has decided to fight Microsoft’s legal claims rather than kowtowing to Redmond and paying royalties to stave off litigation, for the moment at least. Microsoft is earning a tidy packet off its Android patent deals and, on an unrelated point, offering vendors the chance to use Windows Phone 7.

“Microsoft is embarking on a campaign of asserting trivial and outmoded patents against manufacturers of Android devices,” Barnes & Noble told Gene Kimmelman, the Justice Department’s chief counsel for competition policy, in an October 17 letter, Bloomberg News reports. “Microsoft is attempting to raise its rivals’ costs in order to drive out competition and to deter innovation in mobile devices.”

Barnes & Noble told The Register that it declined to comment.

Microsoft’s threats of patent infringement have never been sorted out in court, but the company has signed up Samsung, the biggest maker of Android handsets, and HTC – although in the latter case the Taiwanese company has always danced to Microsoft’s tune. Barnes & Noble and Motorola are still holding firm against the threats, with Motorola likely to take things all the way with Google in control.

“All modern operating systems include many patented technologies," a Microsoft spokeswoman told The Register. "Microsoft has taken licenses to patents for Windows and we make our patents available on reasonable terms for other operating systems, like Android. We would be pleased to extend a license to Barnes & Noble." ®

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