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By | Gavin Clarke 21st March 2011 23:04

Microsoft sues trio over Androidian book reader

Redmond patent suit hits Barnes & Noble

Microsoft is suing Barnes & Noble, Invetec, and Foxconn International over alleged patent infringements by the Android-based Nook e-reader sold by Barnes & Noble.

On monday, the software giant said that Android infringes on a number of its patents and that the trio must respect Microsoft's intellectual property rights.

The patents cover ways of tabbing through various screens to find information, quickly surfing the web, and interacting with documents and e-books.

IP watcher Florian Mueller listed the precise patents in question on his blog.

The action comes almost a year after smartphone maker HTC agreed to pay Microsoft royalties for devices it sells running Google's Android operating system.

HTC is also a Microsoft partner, making five smart phones running Windows Phone 7. You can check out a photo that encapsulates the spirit of the companies' fraternal partnership here.

Microsoft deputy general counsel for IP and licensing Hector Gutierrez called out the HTC deal in a statement on Microsoft's action against The Barnes & Noble Trio.

According to Gutierrez, Microsoft has tried for more than a year to reach licensing agreements with Barnes & Noble, Foxconn, and Inventec.

"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," Gutierrez said in a statement here.

If past experience is an indicator of future performance of patent, licensing, and royalties cases, the companies will settle by agreeing to pay Microsoft royalties rather than risk a potentially drawn out and expensive patent litigation dispute.

Foxconn manufacturers Apple's iPad as well as Amazon's Linux-based Kindle ereader. The Amazon division that designs the Kindle, Lab 126, is now reported to be staffing up on Android developers.

The speculation is that is Amazon's looking to add a color screen to the Kindle. It should be noted that a version of the Kindle software is available for Android on other devices.

Meanwhile, Oracle has also taken issue with Android. The database giant claims Android violates patents in Java that it owns. Unlike Microsoft, however, Oracle has chosen not to divide and conquer. Last summer, it filed action against Android's owner and creator, Google. ®

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