Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 19th Nov 2011 00:10 UTC
Legal The legal fire between Barnes & Noble and Microsoft is flaring up even more. B&N has filed a compilation or prior art to Microsoft's patents. B&N is proving just how easily and quickly Samsung, HTC, and other buckled to Microsoft's protection racket: we're talking 43 (!) pages of prior art, drawing from things like old Netscape releases, GNU Emacs, and much more. If B&N can create such a monumental list of prior art, why didn't Samsung or HTC? Amazing.
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US jingoism
by kpugovkin on Sat 19th Nov 2011 00:39 UTC
kpugovkin
Member since:
2011-07-05

Because HTC and Samsung know very well that US judges are jingoists, always ruling in favor of US companies against foreign firms.

Reply Score: 11

Very Impressive
by BeOSJim on Sat 19th Nov 2011 00:48 UTC
BeOSJim
Member since:
2010-01-20

B&N is impressing me with the way they are handling this. I wish the other companies wouldn't have given in so quickly.

Reply Score: 16

RE: Very Impressive
by rtfa on Sat 19th Nov 2011 08:33 UTC in reply to "Very Impressive"
rtfa Member since:
2006-02-27

Indeed. But i think all the other ones that caved in had a Microsoft licence to keep. SO i guess the discussion was - still want you license to sell Microsoft OS's? Then cough up for a Android license but we'll give you the money back in free marketing....

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Very Impressive
by lemur2 on Sat 19th Nov 2011 08:41 UTC in reply to "RE: Very Impressive"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Indeed. But i think all the other ones that caved in had a Microsoft licence to keep. SO i guess the discussion was - still want you license to sell Microsoft OS's? Then cough up for a Android license but we'll give you the money back in free marketing....


This.

Clarification ... free marketing for products using Microsoft software ...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Very Impressive
by shmerl on Sat 19th Nov 2011 23:14 UTC in reply to "Very Impressive"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Yes, that's the only right way to deal with MS thugs. Others surprise me for being cowards.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by catonic
by catonic on Sat 19th Nov 2011 00:50 UTC
catonic
Member since:
2005-11-04

Because Samsung and HTC know that these nonsense patents don't apply in Asia (the largest and fastest growing market) and only really apply in the USA (a small and rapidly declining market).
Barnes and Noble however are fighting for their survival and know they need their Nook as a platform to sell their content on.
Hence they are much more serious.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by catonic
by dsmogor on Sat 19th Nov 2011 09:07 UTC in reply to "Comment by catonic"
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

Weren't they forced to pay for *every* android device produced?

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Comment by catonic
by JAlexoid on Sat 19th Nov 2011 18:20 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by catonic"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

There is another factor in play for HTC and Samsung - they are heavily dependent on Microsoft in other markets.
They could fight it out and might even win the first case, but they would ultimately loose in their other markets. HTC - WP7 phones. Samsung - PC business.

Microsoft still has an extraordinary amount of leverage against all of their "partners".

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Comment by catonic
by glarepate on Sat 19th Nov 2011 19:30 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by catonic"
glarepate Member since:
2006-01-04

Samsung makes phones and tablets too. Maybe part of the marketing money they are getting is to compensate them for the disadvantage they are at with respect to Nokia phones, now, and tablets later.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by catonic
by arpan on Sun 20th Nov 2011 08:49 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by catonic"
arpan Member since:
2006-07-30

Regarding WP7, it is a commercial flop upto now, as such, Microsoft needs HTC & Samsung more than they need Microsoft. MS were so desperate that they were willing to pay Nokia billions (AFAIK) to get them to make WP7 their exclusive smartphone OS.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by catonic
by lemur2 on Mon 21st Nov 2011 06:03 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by catonic"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

There is another factor in play for HTC and Samsung - they are heavily dependent on Microsoft in other markets.
They could fight it out and might even win the first case, but they would ultimately loose in their other markets. HTC - WP7 phones. Samsung - PC business.

Microsoft still has an extraordinary amount of leverage against all of their "partners".


Agreed. Exactly so.

Hence the main point of B&N complaint against Microsoft's actions regarding Android. Microsoft are using leverage in one market (where Microsoft have a monopoly) to try to eliminate competition in another market where Microsft have essentially no share or influence).

Ergo, antitrust complaint.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by catonic
by glarepate on Sat 19th Nov 2011 19:27 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by catonic"
glarepate Member since:
2006-01-04

Why would they pay a U.S. patent fee for devices that aren't sold here (or there depending on your location)? That would really be patent misuse!

Have you seen anything that says that? If so, post a link to it. I didn't sign the NDA, so I can read it and share it with others.

On the other hand they can afford to just pay and keep on doing it. At least until their $50 billion cash reserve runs out. And by then they may come up with a new tactic.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by JokeyRhyme
by JokeyRhyme on Sat 19th Nov 2011 01:04 UTC
JokeyRhyme
Member since:
2010-05-28

HTC and Samsung probably didn't feel they needed to defend themselves. We don't know what their terms were, although it has been rumoured that they were asked to continue to make great Windows Phone devices.

Maybe they were already going to be doing that? Until Nokia is running at 100%, Microsoft desperately needs HTC and Samsung, so maybe Microsoft's additional terms weren't so severe?

Also, Android manufacturers don't get along. They are in cut-throat competition with each other, despite Google's best efforts. They probably didn't want to go to any personal expense that their competitors might benefit from. For example, if HTC defended the whole of Android, then Samsung and Sony would be getting that for free.

Also, Samsung is obsessed with their image (why else would they stupidly risk FRAND patents against Apple)? They care about the current lawsuits, and probably didn't want yet another company suing them for "stealing ideas". Any lawsuit where they can't respond in kind is a lawsuit they want to avoid.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by JokeyRhyme
by JokeyRhyme on Sat 19th Nov 2011 01:06 UTC
JokeyRhyme
Member since:
2010-05-28

I hope Google sends some help to Barnes & Noble. They don't seem to need it yet, but Google should at least recognise that one company is doing what no-one else has done: bringing the fight to Microsoft.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by JokeyRhyme
by JAlexoid on Sat 19th Nov 2011 18:22 UTC in reply to "Comment by JokeyRhyme"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

They should coordinate with Moto.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by JokeyRhyme
by arpan on Sun 20th Nov 2011 08:51 UTC in reply to "Comment by JokeyRhyme"
arpan Member since:
2006-07-30

B&N & Amazon are basically taking Android and reskinning & rebranding it. Basically Google pays for the development but does not get the benefits from this, so why would they be willing to bear further expense in defending them?

Reply Score: 2

Different strokes ...
by glarepate on Sat 19th Nov 2011 01:57 UTC
glarepate
Member since:
2006-01-04

... for different circulatory systems.

Samsung and HTC can, at least potentially, benefit from a cross-licensing arrangement. Especially if it includes subsidy payments to continue to build, ok, well, offer, handsets that no one is buying. All profit, no outlay. Hard deal to pass up when it comes from someone you are already doing business with.

B&N only get the stick, no carrot. The only thing they were being offered was an excessive licensing fee and a restriction on what features they could offer in subsequent products. There was no benefit to them in getting patent cross licenses. There was no advertising money or promotional fees of significant enough volume to make it feasible for them to just knuckle under and pay and then make less-functional products in the future.

So perhaps it wasn't too wise to try to force the issue here.

Reply Score: 10

RE: Different strokes ...
by dsmogor on Sat 19th Nov 2011 09:12 UTC in reply to "Different strokes ..."
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

MS could offer them fantastic future Windows 9 ebook edition that is going to be truly easy on battery life this time (seriously, we promise) for very competitive license price $50 apiece ;)

Edited 2011-11-19 09:14 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Different strokes ...
by Neolander on Sat 19th Nov 2011 11:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Different strokes ..."
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

You forgot about the 7s boot time (for, real, this time, we swear)

Edited 2011-11-19 11:03 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Something related
by OSGuy on Sat 19th Nov 2011 03:06 UTC
OSGuy
Member since:
2006-01-01

"Apple Might Have to Stop Selling Products That Use iCloud in Germany Because of Motorola" http://gizmodo.com/5860913/apple-might-have-to-stop-selling-product... Over in the busy courts of Germany, Apple just suffered a little loss in a preliminary hearing that might snowball into a huge one: iCloud is potentially infringing on patents owned by Motorola. The German courts could order an injunction that'll force Apple to stop selling products that connect to iCloud.

Motorola Says Apple's iCloud Infringes On Patent In Germany, Presiding Judge Seems To Agree: http://www.androidpolice.com/2011/11/18/motorola-says-apples-icloud... The judge also seemed to agree with Motorola's reading of that patent (also known as "construction claims") in important ways that would allow it a broader scope of applicability at trial. The judge did not seem interested in many of Apple's defenses, such as Motorola's claim lacking specificity, the patent in question being invalid, or that the patent should be construed more narrowly.

Motorola likely to win an injunction against Apple iCloud in Germany: http://www.phonearena.com/news/Motorola-likely-to-win-an-injunction... - Fresh off a legal victory against Apple with a preliminary injunction against Appleā€™s mobile products, a German court is likely to hand Motorola another victory in February.

Edited 2011-11-19 03:15 UTC

Reply Score: 7

Good news, but still frustrated.
by Alfman on Sat 19th Nov 2011 04:09 UTC
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

I'd like to encourage B&N to continue to fight MS on this, although I can't help but think that even if they triumph, it still represents thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of man hours that have been totally wasted due to patents. One way or another we as consumers always end up paying for this waste.

I'm looking at the B&N notice, and although they do an astounding job of finding obscure sources from many years ago to make their case, it's hardly a reasonable thing for them to have to do in the first place. I wager that the effort going into researching these claims is going to be far greater than the effort that lead to patenting them in the first place. This hurts the small independent developers the most; it's hard enough to afford a good legal team, who can really afford to have them scour over archives of old books and internet transcripts from over a decade ago to connect them to patent claims.

With any luck, these will be invalidated. But we still need to purge software patents to regain sanity.

Reply Score: 9

transputer_guy Member since:
2005-07-08

There is an easier way to do this. Have the B&N lawyers engineers rewrite the offending patents they are accused of into plain simple English summary and post it to the web for crowd help. That would have found a few just to get the ball rolling.

Reply Score: 3

A Samsung Defense
by geekandnerd on Sat 19th Nov 2011 17:02 UTC
geekandnerd
Member since:
2011-11-19

This is an interesting prior-art defense used by Samsung against Apple, based on a movie released in 1969! All of you have seen this famous sci-fi flick:
http://www.gamezebo.com/news/2011/08/24/samsung-uses-it-was-movie-d...

Reply Score: 1

Not done yet
by vaette on Mon 21st Nov 2011 11:25 UTC
vaette
Member since:
2008-08-09

Presumably Samsung and HTC just paid up since they didn't think they could win, and we certainly don't know yet that B&N will win. Some prior art claims are to be expected, but it remains to be shown that it applies in a relevant way.

For fun I checked through the prior art of the '372 patent. The patent has two parts; noting that downloading images on a website should be done by fetching several images simultaneously, prioritizing ones that are visible in the current viewing area, and the rather obvious note that the webpage should be displayed without images (including the background image) until they have finished downloading. As it happens, the prior art appears to be Netscape 2, which does display the website before images have been fully loaded, and does simultaneous downloads, but I haven't found any reference to it prioritizing images according to what is currently in the visible area of the page.

Such a feature could very well be in there somewhere (there is a lot of references), but checking ~10 of them at random makes all of them appear to refer to the displaying of incomplete pages rather than to prioritization. While any claim that B&N manages to defeat is helpful, they have to defeat them all to be completely off the hook.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by zima
by zima on Sat 26th Nov 2011 23:59 UTC in reply to "Not done yet"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Overall, this description really brings to the fore how fluffy software patents can be... not the nuances of achieving some results, more "those are the results we want"

Maybe crowd-sourced search for prior art (mentioned above by transputer_guy http://www.osnews.com/permalink?497703 ) could indeed help knock this aberration down (problem might be, the legalese seems to be the point; translating into plain En will probably often miss many legal "nuances" which would be "important" in the court and such, swamping the crowd-search with similar-but-not-quite examples) / maybe we can only hope at this point.

Edited 2011-11-27 00:13 UTC

Reply Score: 2