Linked by David Adams on Mon 21st Mar 2011 20:08 UTC
Legal Microsoft is claiming that Android infringes its patents, and has chosen Barnes and Noble, which is using Android for its e-reader, as a target for its ire: "The Android platform infringes a number of Microsoft’s patents, and companies manufacturing and shipping Android devices must respect our intellectual property rights."
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Strategic lawsuit
by ChrisIrwin on Mon 21st Mar 2011 20:35 UTC
ChrisIrwin
Member since:
2008-12-09

Target a vendor that is only coincidently invested in Android: B&N's device runs android for the sole purpose of running their in-house ereader software.

At some point they might decide they don't want to fight in the patent cold war, and either pay microsoft and/or switch to another platform. Sad.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Strategic lawsuit
by David on Mon 21st Mar 2011 20:45 UTC in reply to "Strategic lawsuit"
David Member since:
1997-10-01

Yes. Microsoft has been suing vendors, such as Motorola, and has lined up HTC to pay a licensing fee. I've noticed that the full-frontal assault against Google directly hasn't happened yet. I doubt that MS really wants to have the issue resolved so definitively at this point.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Strategic lawsuit
by Praxis on Mon 21st Mar 2011 21:32 UTC in reply to "RE: Strategic lawsuit"
Praxis Member since:
2009-09-17

They like to sue people unlikely to fight back, Google would fight a suit to the bitter end, because if they give it would seriously undermine confidence in their product, and they generally have the legal and technical knowledge of their stuff needed to fight back, buy suing the hardware manufacturers one at a time, they reduce the chance anyone fights back.

The patents they are asserting right now seem to cover:
• Give people easy ways to navigate through information provided by their device apps via a separate control window with tabs;

• Enable display of a webpage’s content before the background image is received, allowing users to interact with the page faster;

• Allow apps to superimpose download status on top of the downloading content;

• Permit users to easily select text in a document and adjust that selection; and

• Provide users the ability to annotate text without changing the underlying document.

Is it just me or do these feel kinda weak, there has to be prior art somewhere or the full patent has to be ridiculously narrow. I can see why they don't take this directly to Google, Oracles case seems much more fundamental and dangerous.

Reply Score: 6

RE[3]: Strategic lawsuit
by phoenix on Mon 21st Mar 2011 23:57 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Strategic lawsuit"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

• Enable display of a webpage’s content before the background image is received, allowing users to interact with the page faster;


What's the date on that patent? My 3+ year old Sony Ericsson w580i phone's built-in web browser has that feature.

• Allow apps to superimpose download status on top of the downloading content;


Same for this one.

• Permit users to easily select text in a document and adjust that selection; and


Would need to see how this works, as my w580i has a very simple to use mark, cut/copy, paste mechanism, using the arrow keys.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Strategic lawsuit
by mistersoft on Tue 22nd Mar 2011 00:22 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Strategic lawsuit"
mistersoft Member since:
2011-01-05

...My 3+ year old Sony Ericsson w580i phone's built-in web browser has that feature.


:-) ....I initially read that as... "My 3 year old son[could have dreamt up..]has that feature.." and was immediately preparing to agree with or at least be happy to think someone else considers similar UI concepts to be ridiculously unpatentable.

Regarding the parent post:
• Give people easy ways to navigate through information provided by their device apps via a separate control window with tabs;

• Enable display of a webpage’s content before the background image is received, allowing users to interact with the page faster;

• Allow apps to superimpose download status on top of the downloading content;

• Permit users to easily select text in a document and adjust that selection; and

• Provide users the ability to annotate text without changing the underlying document.


...correct me if I'm wrong but I thought the core of patents was that they had to be NOVEL and INVENTIVE or does these requirements not apply to the rightly maligned software patents!? Surely this automatically exclude every and any interface and usability implementation that is *obvious* such as all those above. leaving only novel mathematical algorithms(for whatever..) and REALLY NOVEL or DISTINCTIVE UIs??? ....Oh my God! what is the world coming to?! ...see you've got me invoking similarly ridiculous notional deities now

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Strategic lawsuit
by n4cer on Tue 22nd Mar 2011 00:05 UTC in reply to "RE: Strategic lawsuit"
n4cer Member since:
2005-07-06

Yes. Microsoft has been suing vendors, such as Motorola, and has lined up HTC to pay a licensing fee. I've noticed that the full-frontal assault against Google directly hasn't happened yet. I doubt that MS really wants to have the issue resolved so definitively at this point.


Unlike the vendors, Google doesn't actually commercially distribute an implementation of the technologies. If Google started selling its own branded phone directly (or the CR-48s if ChromeOS is also affected), I'd expect a suit (or licensing agreement) to follow shortly.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Strategic lawsuit
by Laurence on Tue 22nd Mar 2011 13:34 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Strategic lawsuit"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

Unlike the vendors, Google doesn't actually commercially distribute an implementation of the technologies. If Google started selling its own branded phone directly (or the CR-48s if ChromeOS is also affected), I'd expect a suit (or licensing agreement) to follow shortly.

What about the G1, Nexus and Nexus S?

They were all Google branded phones (albeit built by other manufactorers behind the scenes)

Edited 2011-03-22 13:34 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Strategic lawsuit
by n4cer on Wed 23rd Mar 2011 02:38 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Strategic lawsuit"
n4cer Member since:
2005-07-06

"Unlike the vendors, Google doesn't actually commercially distribute an implementation of the technologies. If Google started selling its own branded phone directly (or the CR-48s if ChromeOS is also affected), I'd expect a suit (or licensing agreement) to follow shortly.

What about the G1, Nexus and Nexus S?

They were all Google branded phones (albeit built by other manufactorers behind the scenes)
"

As you mention, the phones are produced by other manufacturers (HTC and Samsung respectively in that case). More importantly, they are also marketed under said manufacturers' (and the respective carriers) brands along with the "with Google" trademark to denote Google software/services included with the phone.

There's never been a Google phone (e.g., The Google Atrix) of which I'm aware. It's always been OtherGuy's Phone with Google. And since Google's not selling Android, OtherGuy who makes the pieces a working, commercial whole, gets the patent liabilities.

MS got a licensing deal w/ HTC over their Android phones. They already had a long-standing cross-license w/ Samsung (as far as I'm aware, this covered Samsung's Android device production indirectly). They've sought similar deals w/ Motorola (and now B&N, et al.) and were unsuccessful.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Strategic lawsuit
by Laurence on Wed 23rd Mar 2011 10:15 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Strategic lawsuit"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

As you mention, the phones are produced by other manufacturers (HTC and Samsung respectively in that case). More importantly, they are also marketed under said manufacturers' (and the respective carriers) brands along with the "with Google" trademark to denote Google software/services included with the phone.

There's never been a Google phone (e.g., The Google Atrix) of which I'm aware. It's always been OtherGuy's Phone with Google. And since Google's not selling Android, OtherGuy who makes the pieces a working, commercial whole, gets the patent liabilities.


That seems like an arbitrary way to assign responsibility. I mean where do you draw the line, because I'm pretty sure HTC don't make their own memory chips and Samsung certainly aren't Snapdragon manufacturers.

Plus I think you're underplaying Googles involvement with the Nexus range. AFAIK they're not just labelled as "with Google", but more sold as "Google phones". Granted your point about marketing et al, however the fact that these phones are sold as Google's surely means that Google have commissioned and signed their name to these products. Thus Google surely must also be liable in some way.

Essentially my point is I don't buy that MS aren't chasing after Google because they can't. I think the more likely reason is what was suggested earlier: that Redmond are picking off manufacturers of Android handsets one by one as it's easier than chasing after Google directly (who likely have a boatload software patents to enforce / counter sue their position).

However the question still begs: why aren't Google publicly standing by their partners?

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Stephen!
by Stephen! on Mon 21st Mar 2011 22:26 UTC
Stephen!
Member since:
2007-11-24

They could simply be lying about patent infringements.
They claimed the Linux kernel violated their patents, but never specifically stated which patents were violated.

Reply Score: 4

Reminds me of LoL...
by Matzon on Mon 21st Mar 2011 22:32 UTC
Matzon
Member since:
2005-07-06

Reminds me of LoL... midgame heroes start to pick on each other, getting the easy preys, squishy people or people running too far away, alone.

At some point however everybody jumps into a huge 5v5 battle and someone comes out victorious.

At some point, the really big ones will face off in a gigantic patent battle. Should be fun to watch.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by Valhalla
by Valhalla on Tue 22nd Mar 2011 15:20 UTC
Valhalla
Member since:
2006-01-24

Microsoft really have to be desperate if they have to resort to these patent threats (not even using a proxy this time), and when looking at the actual patents they come across as even more desperate. Seriously, how can these things have been granted a patent in the first place? Only things that are novel and non-obvious should be patentable, these are neither and also reeks of prior art.

Atleast we won't have to listen to the Microsoft only uses patents as a protective measure against frivolous lawsuits bs again for a while.

Reply Score: 5