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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

February 10, 2012 at 6:40 AM

BN appeals ITC decision on patent misuse claim against Microsoft

Barnes & Noble has filed an appeal with the U.S. International Trade Commission over a judge’s decision last month to dismiss the bookseller’s allegations that Microsoft engaged in anti-competitive practices by misusing its patents.

The move is part of an ongoing legal battle between Microsoft and Barnes & Noble over patents. The trial in the case began this week.

Microsoft asserts that the bookstore chain’s Nook e-reader and Nook Color tablets, which run on Google’s Android software, infringe on some of Microsoft’s patents.

Barnes & Noble, in turn, had asked regulators to review whether Microsoft’s patent-licensing agreements with makers of Android devices are anti-competitive.

Last month, an ITC administrative law judge had granted Microsoft’s request to dismiss Barnes & Noble’s patent-misuse allegations.

In Barnes & Noble’s request — filed Wednesday — for a review of that decision, the bookseller said that the judge’s decision had rested “on both erroneous conclusions of law and a misstatement of the facts.”

Barnes & Noble’s filing also claims that Microsoft “asserts that its patents cover every implementation of Android when in fact they do not” and that the software company “demands (under threat of litigation) that OEMs take a license from Microsoft that requires the OEMs to pay a hefty license fee to Microsoft for every Android device the OEMs sell regardless of whether those devices actually infringe any Microsoft patents.”

Last week, Microsoft withdrew one of its patent claims against Barnes & Noble in the case, leaving three patents at issue in the trial that began this week. Those patents involve annotation software that allows readers to make notes on e-books separate from the book, software that allows people to select and make a text area larger or smaller, and technology that helps readers perceive faster browser downloads by displaying text first, then the background.

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