Android Patent Infringement: Licensing is the Solution

Posted by Horacio Gutierrez
Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel

As you may have seen, Microsoft today filed legal actions against Barnes & Noble, Inc., Foxconn International Holdings Ltd., and Inventec Corporation in both the U.S. International Trade Commission and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. Today’s actions focus on the patent infringement by the Nook e-reader and the Nook Color tablet, both of which run the Android operating system.

Together with the patents already asserted in the course of our litigation against Motorola, today’s actions bring to 25 the total number of Microsoft patents in litigation for infringement by Android smartphones, tablets and other devices. Microsoft is not a company that pursues litigation lightly. In fact, this is only our seventh proactive patent infringement suit in our 36-year history. But we simply cannot ignore infringement of this scope and scale.

To help companies address Android’s ongoing infringement, we’ve established an industry-wide licensing program. Last year, HTC took a license covering its Android-based smartphones, confirming the viability of our license-first approach. In the e-reader space, signed a patent license with Microsoft last year covering its Kindle device. And many other device makers have also taken licenses to Microsoft’s patents under a number of existing licensing programs. Unfortunately, after more than a year of discussions, Barnes & Noble, Foxconn and Inventec have so far been unwilling to sign a license, and therefore, we have no other choice but to bring legal action to defend our innovations.

The Microsoft-created features protected by the patents infringed by the Nook and Nook Color tablet are core to the user experience. For example, the patents we asserted today protect innovations that:

• 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.

By bringing this case, we are protecting our investments on behalf of our customers, partners and shareholders – just as other companies do. Our firm view remains, however, that licensing is the best way forward for the industry, and we will continue to prefer the licensing path to litigation.

Comments (142)

  1. Alberto Rodriguez says:

    And thanks to Microsoft's lawyers, I will never purchase a phone product by microsoft.


    And believe me, I'm not the only one.  Keep bringing the bad publicity.  No amount of buying out Nokia will save your Kin 2.

  2. johnredd says:

    Thank God all those incredible ideas were created by MS – it's obvious just reading the list that no one would have ever come up with any of those brilliant approaches on their own otherwise.

    Can we get our IP law fixed please?

  3. Martin says:

    If MS is serious must post the list of patents that are infringed.

    It is a shame that MS tries to get money even when nobody is using their products. This press release is possible in response because Barnes & Noble, Foxconn and Inventec refused to get extortionate by MS lawyers.

    Also the US has a serious problems with the Software Patents system, anybody can patent a basic idea…. came on patent the "Save As.." and screw all of us.

  4. No One says:

    Microsoft is just another patent troll !!!

    They can not tolerate a single competitor.

    !!!!! USA – Fix the patent system !!!!! The System is not fair !!!

  5. n8wood says:

    If you can't beat 'em, sue 'em.

  6. Bryan says:

    I'm not sure who to be more disgusted with here. Microsoft for being patent trolls or the US Patent office for awarding the patents to begin with. Seriously.

  7. mike says:

    This is awful. Patent trolling is one thing, but publish a tech blog daring to suggest these ideas are innovations or even worthy of patenting, let alone make the user experience invaluable, is optimistic at best.

  8. Anon says:

    This pisses me off oh so much. They did not even provide a list patents, they just said: you're infringing, pay up! And only Motorola said no (and did not receive any legal action). What does that say?

  9. dustin says:

    All of these "innovations" seem rather trivial; tabbed information? selecting text?

    It seems like Microsoft is just sore about Andriod mopping the proverbial floor with WinMo.

  10. If you can't compete sue your competitors says:

    Maybe MS should spend less on the legal department and concentrate on competing in the smart phone arena.

  11. Brian says:

    Seriously, these are ridiculous. I bet MS is infringing 100 patents on this web page. Let me make up some patents that probably exist:

    *Method for leaving a comment on an electronic article

    *Time-sorted log of articles

    *Organization of articles by "Tags"

    *Tabbed interface for switching between sub pages of a website

  12. DanInAustin says:

    Is Microsoft the next SCO?  Is there any innovation left in Redmond or just patent lawyers?

  13. adam says:

    I can't wait for the market to drown microsoft completely

  14. Sergio Aguayo says:

    The "innovations" mentioned in this post are a clear example of how bad is the US patent system. Patents that should have never been granted.

  15. user says:

    Horacio Gutierrez = MS Master Patent Troll…/Gutierrez

  16. JC says:

    I didn't think I could think any lower of Microsoft.  But I have to admit I was wrong for two reasons.  First that they would dare to call that drivel 'innovations'.  Second that they would actually try to use them to take the place of actually competing by making a better product.

  17. Chris Adler says:

    These claims are no worse than any other patent being enforced by the companies you seem to like.

  18. VERGÜENZA !!! says:

    Microsoft es una vergüenza para la industria de software. Ni siquiera publican la lista de patentes que Android supuestamente viola.

  19. alkyl says:

    There's something terribly wrong in the US patent system.

  20. Ophbalance says:

    Wait, because HTC didn't stand up to the local bully, that's actually justification that you're RIGHT?  Mmmkay.  I'm with the first poster on this.  I own a Zune, I've owned 3 different WM devices, but based on this… no more.  From a mobile standpoint, Android just offers more versatility than WM ever has for me in the past.  Too bad MS, you and I are through.

  21. paul says:

    "…To promote the progress of science and the useful arts…"

    Microsoft here is proving how unconstitutional copyright and patent law has become.  The constitution does NOT support copyright and patent projection in order to protect the income and investments of various companies.  The only purpose of patent and copyright law is to promote progress.

    Here Microsoft is proving that patent law is only used to obstruct progress.  Would Microsoft have copied… er… I mean "invented" these software ideas WITHOUT patents?  Of course they would have!  They had to compete with Apple and others.  And is Microsoft now promoting progress by suing?  No, they are protecting their income.

    Protecting one's income IS NOT a justification for patents.

    And oh by the way, NOBODY had licensed all the patents covering mobile computing, INCLUDING Microsoft.  Some are held by HP, some by Google, some by Microsoft, some by IBM, some by Oracle, and dozens of other companies.  Nobody has licensed them all.  All of the patent lawsuits currently in play prove it is IMPOSSIBLE for ANYONE to legally make a smart phone.

    I propose that ALL SMART PHONES be destroyed until we reform our patent law and make the development, manufacture, and sell of such devices totally legal.

  22. RM says:

    Folks, if this infuriates you, it's time to do three things:

    1. Give some money to the Free Software Foundation, .

    2. Write your congressperson and tell them that this counterproductive nonsense needs to stop. It's time to fix patents.

    3. Of course, stop buying Microsoft anything. (Fortunately, that's now easy to do, except in the enterprise space.)

  23. Peter says:

    Well, well! So now we're at a point where MS admits it can't compete: the infringement suit for patents without merit is usually a sure sign. Perhaps SCO can return the favour and support you from the treasures they raked in going down this path.

    I owned Windows Mobile devices for the past 6 years. If the Windows 7 phone prank (screw the existing customer and their investment in apps) were not enough, this clinches it. I'm getting an Android phone.

  24. Dobby Wilson says:

    None of this BS will get anyone to buy a Windows phone anyway.

  25. /dev says:

    Seems to be a good reason to me never ever buy M$ products…

  26. Oliver Smith says:

    Thank you for presenting this in a laymans terms post; I would assume that you, as Microsoft's Deputy General Counsel, probably had to tone it down *just* a tad for consumption here.

    At the same time, I am intrigued as to the specific patents. For example: "Enable display of a webpage's content before the background image is received, allowing users to interact with the page faster" must surely be a misinterpretation of forwarded materials?

    That wording translates, in laymans terms, to "invention to reduce frequency of your money turning to ash by not setting it on fire in the first place"; or more simply, the short version makes it sound /as though/ you have managed to patent a fix to a regression only seen in your own browser.

    But, I would imagine that viewing the actual patent details would reveal that the patent covers a specific approach taken to eradicate the unwanted IE-only behavior, which you believe has been incorporated into the offending products as a direct means to bypass having the issue in the first place. But I'm not aware of any contemporary browser, particularly Chrome, having the same issue in the first place to need or even be capable of employing such a technology to avoid an issue they don't have.

    Again: that specific description employs a specific invention to avoid a specific issue, it doesn't read as though it patents the innate ability to download background images automatically, since that would have been thwarted by copious amounts of prior art.

    I hope you would be willing to post a list of the specific patents being infringed for those of us more interest in the specifics.

    – Oliver

  27. JB says:

    I'm sorry but the patents are the weakest patents I have ever seen.  They are totally obvious to anyone in the art.  I guess this is the beginning of the end for Microsoft.  The legal team is going to leach the money that should be going to make the windows phone OS a market leader.  

    I'm sorry that HTC and Amazon took your bulling seriously.

    How long to the PC's running android come out?


  28. AndroidFTW says:

    I left windows mobile for Android because of lame crap MS does like this. This is also why I am moving away from ALL Microsoft OSs on any device or computer and refuse to use any more Microsoft services. I also currently help as many people as I can to do the same, and help them move over to Google services.


  29. KB says:

    One word describes all of these innovations that are being protected by patent – OBVIOUS. No patent should have been granted.

  30. Korla Plankton says:

    Why would I want to buy products from a company that is uses litigation to try and prevent a competitor from providing user functionality that is both obvious and trivial to implement? Because said company's products are better? Except they aren't. Microsoft wants me to buy their products because they are (or want to be) the only game in town. Here's hoping your patents are invalidated.

  31. waldo says:

    Wow!  What innovative concepts!

    Permit users to select text in a document and adjust that selection?!!  Holy balls that must have taken a lot of investment dollars to figure out.

    Text annotation you say!  Incredible!

    Hmmm.  This looks a lot to me like patent trolling.  Disgusting.  Way to maintain your reputation as bullies, MS.

  32. Peter says:

    Mr. Guiterrez, do you really not understand how stupid even the existence of these patents (let alone claiming infringement) makes you and your company look? Compared to this, even SCO starts looking intelligent.


    Microsoft software has really been impressing me lately.  In fact, their attitude towards free software, hiring that open source advisor or whatever, has been impressing me.  But this is just ridiculous.  You guys could put just about developer who has an interactive GUI out of business with these patents.  Why haven't you pulled these out on traditional Linux userland applications yet?  Probably because you guys still have the desktop market cornered.  I bet if a miracle happened, and a decent chunk of PCs started coming out with alternative operating systems, you would.  This is just sad, WP7 isn't performing as well as you want it to, so you're going to do everything you can to be a thorn in the competitors side.  If you can't beat 'em, sue 'em.  Well I just want to let you know, as a staunch Free Software advocate, I actually have purchased many Microsoft products for my family, as they're great pieces of software for average users.  They can be compatible with everyone else, everything just works, and they're happy.  In fact, I have recently recommended several of your products to friends of mine, as I believe some of your software is the best in the business.  I even use some of your products myself, such as Windows 7 and Visual Studio to develop free software on your platform, as they are hands down the best tools for Windows development.  I am the kind of person who less that ten years ago would put together whatever non-Microsoft toolchain from the compiler to the widget set just to be sure that my software touched as little of your operating system as possible when developing for your platform, because your behavior in those days made me sick.  That was beginning to change quite a bit, and I was warming up to you guys a lot.  Not that I would ever consider abandoning my free software love affair and *nix platforms and convert myself, but for the limited Windows development I do and as far as recommendations to friends and family (and being the only software developer/tech savvy dude among my friends, gives my suggestions quite a bit of weight) things between us were starting to be alright.  But not anymore, and never again.  You betrayed us, and we will not forget.  Fsck you Micro$oft.

    David Joseph Riley

    Software Developer

    Milwaukee, Wisconsin  

  34. JS says:

    Replace 'patent infringement' with 'competition', and it all makes sense!

  35. lee says:

    The new Microsoft corporate motto: Don't Innovate, Litigate!

    Wow, it looks like one of your inventions is the wait indicator.  I guess necessity really is the mother of invention.

    I hope Google sues you for copying their search engine results, as it's been proven that you do.

  36. rofling says:

    Holy crap are those patents frivolous.  This 'brilliant move' (lol) might actually see those patents overturned, and all the microsoft licensing nonsense blocked and refunded by the courts.  Smart move Microsoft.

  37. GB says:

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

    REALLY? Every modern browser does this. It's common sense, not some mystical Microsoft intellectual asset.

    What is wrong with you morons?

  38. Sickening says:

    Stench of desperation is overwhelming in this post – mr. Gutierrez is obviously not very good at public relations. Oh and MS wouldn't even exist had Xerox not invented their 'windowing system'.

  39. Alexander Janssen says:

    Clearly there's a lot of inventionatility in all those claims and highly technical in deed. Not obvious in any kind.

    It's that kind of obvious claims which discredits the whole patent system.

    Some day, some place, there will be an occasion when the whole patent system just goes BAM.

    And guess who'll win: The lawyers. They will laugh and pee on the grave of those who tried to make the "best" of the system.

    Patents, ha! Patents and software are barely more than William Gibbson's dream about future corporate warfare Nixon style. Cold war again – on speed.

    Have a lot of fun.


  40. b d says:

    So basically, a bunch of really obvious ideas have been patented.. Way to keep innovating Microsoft.

  41. reading of actions like this primarily serve to create a deleterious reputation for Microsoft. Microsoft has clearly lost it's way and the annual reports are grim reading, could be good opportunities to take short positions on MSFT at least. the heart of the issue is probably overlooked at every meeting.

  42. here's some free advice for Microsoft: Innovate; don't litigate.

  43. JG says:

    I'm a Microsoft fan. I sell a lot of licenses every year. The fact that you can own a patent on any of those ideas, is ridiculous. Any one who abuses a bad law is unethical. Wealthy, but unethical.

  44. Frivolous lawsuit! says:

    It is shame that Microsoft stoops this low.

    I made my switch to Linux for my developing platform a couple of weeks ago and I am not looking back.

    Ballmer should change his tune to "Developers? Developers? Where are the developers?"

  45. Florine Uranium Carbon Potassium Microsoft says:

    You think this is a smart move? Nah! I am not buying and M$'s phone/music player/XBOX series etc in the rest of my life! Loser!

  46. Javier A. says:

    I'm not sure about posting here… maybe someone has patented the fact of "Replying to a blog post with some ideas and comentaries" and will file a legal action against me unless I pay a license.

    Don't know…

  47. Sean says:

    The fact that the USPTO would grant a patent over something as ridiculous as delaying the loading of a background image to load the page faster shows how out of touch the patent office is, and how ridiculous your patents are. Go take a long walk off a short pier, Microsoft.

  48. Dear Lord, is this an early April Fool's?

  49. Marcel says:

    "Microsoft is not a company that pursues litigation lightly."

    Are you from an alternate universe? In ours, it's the only trick in their entire book.

  50. Leandro Tami says:

    This is a joke. In fact I believe that this is just one of many, many proofs that software patents are extremely damaging to the industry. I'll make sure to explain this to as many people as I can, and I'll make all the necessary efforts to be sure that this nonsense does not spread to my country.

    How can anyone compete if there's always some giant behemoth like Microsoft patenting thousands of the silliest, most obvious, unimaginative things, with the sole purpose of suing other companies over them. It is a mystery to me how Microsoft manages to get this kind of incredibly ridiculous patents approved.

    This restricts any kind of innovation because it effectively blocks the efforts of other people towards the evolution of a certain technology. Example: if someone had patented the idea of a round contraption with an axis, used to easily move heavy objects, machinery or people, then most likely we wouldn't have cars or even carts or anything with wheels.

  51. Noah Fecks says:

    Wow this is crazy. First thing to do is fix the US patent system to stop patent trolls. I'm glad I jumped ship to Linux full time since 1999 and have been converting everyone I can to stay away from M$.  Everything M$ is banned in my house, no zune, no xbox, no hotmail, not even a stray keyboard or mouse.  WM has been a joke for a long time, I'm glad everyone's finally jumping off the M$ bandwagon.

  52. Amen says:

    MS needs their collective asses kicked. They built a company by stealing other peoples ideas and now live off of being patent whores. To find your US House Rep go to…/welcome.shtml


  53. Amen says:

    Horacio–could you please post the actual patent numbers? It will make it so much easier for the collective internet to rip on this BS than having to wade through the legal filings.

    And as an aside, I'm a customer so in the future when you say "we are protecting our investments on behalf of our customers," please exclude me from that flagrant line of BS.

  54. James Moore says:

    Those are the patents?  That's pathetic – that's a laundry list of trash patents that never should have been granted.  Nothing there can or should be patented.

  55. Amen says:

    NM–Florian Mueller has posted the patent info. They all seem to be poster children for why the US patent system needs to be destroyed. . .…/microsoft-sues-barnes-noble-foxconn-and.html

  56. itguy08 says:

    F-U Microsoft.  This is really low and I'll do my best to ensure that you never see another dime of my or anyone else's money.

  57. Richard says:


    If those five patents are the *only* patents you could come up with which to sue, I would be *extremely* concerned as a shareholder. Have you not been doing anything at all in the last couple of decades worthy of patenting?

    Wait. I've got a new one for you. I just slapped myself in the head while reading through your patents. How about "Mechanism for self abuse while reading patents of a dying company"?

  58. No, not being dirty patent trolls like you're doing with this lawsuit is the solution. Great way to draw in customers…idiots!

  59. Jonathan Hunt says:

    Rubbish software patents like these help make the case to avoid software patents altogether, as New Zealand is attempting to do.…/software-patents-bill-clause-will-not-be-altered

  60. Sam Clifford says:

    "• 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."

    Really? These were significantly original designs that a patent office decided were worth protecting? This just goes to show how ridiculous the idea of software patents are.

  61. James Hogarth says:…/about

    5,778,372 – Remote retrieval and display management of electronic document with……/about

    6,339,780 – Loading status in a hypermedia browser having a limited available display area…/about

    5,889,522 – System provided child window controls…/about

    6,891,551 – Selection handles in editing electronic documents…/about

    6,957,233 – Method and apparatus for capturing and rendering annotations for non …

    These are ridiculous and should never have been granted. Microsoft I hope you have launched the first major attack in the patent M.A.D. cold war and that Google and the other members of the OHA fire back in the most devastating of fashions.

    Given the nature of patents I would be extremely surprised if WP7 didn't in some generic way infringe any owned by OHA members or even hopefully IBM…

  62. DM says:

    awesome april fools joke, but your a bit early

  63. Raul Rios says:

    This is truly sad. Is this what's left of Microsoft? Is this what you've become?

    I can understand that you are under tremendous pressure, but not by your shareholders, but by all the many threats you are facing today, with many, many more to come your way.

    Shareholders will not applaud your lawsuits, they only prove to them that you have no prospects of growth in your future.

    I have never liked Microsoft, but I had no idea you were so desperate.

    Sad. Truly sad.

  64. Larry says:

    Can't innovate? Litigate!

    You are a shameful, pathetic company. It's like you finally shed that evil image after all these years, and then you go and pull a SCO so you can earn it back again. Enjoy being crushed by Apple, Google, and Linux.

    You can't "invent" annotating text or tabbed browsing, don't be so ridiculous. You are embarrassing yourselves.

  65. ArturoMD says:

    No offense intended, but that has to be the most weakest and overbroad patents i ever see in my life.

  66. Matthew Gifford says:

    If you think Google is stealing your ideas with Android, then maybe you should sue Google. My guess is that you won't. That's because this is really an attempt to create FUD, because you can't compete. It's the same story over and over with you guys.

  67. Paul Gray says:

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

    Prior Art CDE/X-Windows

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

    Prior Art Netscape and Lotus Notes

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

    Prior Art FTP

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

    Prior art CDE/X-Windows

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

    Prior art – POSTIX notes

    I don't take this lightly and in my 43 years of living I've only called some company a patent troll 5 times, unfortunatly I can not let this pass and find myself raising that to 6.

  68. ML49448 says:

    So you're just straight-up competing via the courts now. How pathetic.

  69. NightTime Developer says:

    Reading the comments below, it appears that lots of the talkbacks are basing their opinion on two things:

    1.  The absurdly brief descriptions in the MS Lawyer's posting and;

    2.  The usual problem created by 20/20 hindsight.

    I actually took the time to look through the patents that Mueller has listed.  It turns out that, at least in the case of the "System provided child window controls" patent, there's a pretty detailed run through of how MS approached the creation and presentation of child window controls – It's not just back of the napkin scribbling.  Specific DLL methodologies are laid out, and if you were reading this in say, 1994, there's some pretty interesting new concepts.  which brings me to #2

    I also looked at the FILING DATE and ISSUE DATE of the patent.  Turns out that the child window control patent was filed in 1994!  There are more than a few highly competent coders out there who were barely out of diapers when this patent was conceived and filed.  It's easy now to say "Obvious" now in 2011 when it's "obvious" for the simple reason that we've all been using the methods and concepts laid out in the patent!  So of course it's obvious to us, we learned it!

    And ultimately, that's the reality here.  These patents weren't secret; the inventions they describe weren't hiding out in some dark corner.  No, these were inventions we saw and used daily in various flavors of Windows and in other products that, more often than not, were doing some kind of broad cross licensing with Microsoft (think Apple post 1997 agreement).

    Yeah, there are lots of problems with the patent system, but these patents were inventions that were in use and implemented; Google has billions of dollars and thousands of its own patents.  If Google wants to implement a bunch of MS tech in Android, then it can bloody well take a license.

  70. swarm says:

    Very good idea. Prevent people from getting an electronic book reader so they read paper based books instead. Very helpful for the environment!

    Also, isn't Microsoft the biggest intellectual property thief? The fact it was legal doesn't mean it wasn't theft!

    – DOS -> MS-DOS

    – Internet -> The Microsoft Network (thanks god it failed!)

    – Xerox PARC / Mac OS -> Windows

    – OS/2 -> Windows NT

    – Sybase SQL Server -> SQL Server

    – NCSA Mosaic -> Internet Explorer

    Who is the thief now?

  71. Reality Check says:

    Oh come on! Google's not going to save you. They release an "open source" phone OS and then basically blackmail carriers into including their apps. It's the most closely guarded "open source" product out there. And let's not pretend that Google isn't VERY concerned about protecting their precious software patents. Everyone's attitude is "take THEIR stuff but protect mine." The answer here is for the wealthy companies shipping this tech to simply take a license or code around the patents. If the ideas are so simple then come up with new ones.

  72. Melody Ayres-Griffiths says:

    Just because you're the first to patent something doesn't mean you own it (see Prior Art). This isn't the Wild Wild West and you can't lay claim to something just because nobody else has (otherwise we'd all have to pay license fees every time we took a walk due to Patent #0: 'Bipedal muscular motion of an upright homo sapiens'.

    Isn't Microsoft risking MAD? I'm sure Xerox, Apple and whoever owns the rights to things like GEM, WorkBench and so forth will be taking a look at their own IP 'rights' should Microsoft prove successful in 'enforcing' patents such as these… Microsoft needs to ask itself if it's really worth the chance of a crippling free-for-all — or perhaps this energy could instead be expended in building truly innovative apps for the Android platform?

    If you can't beat 'em, join 'em…

  73. E. Arroyave says:

    Why doesn't Microsoft develop something and bring it to market rather themselves (and bring value to the shareholder) instead of becoming a patent troll?  MSFT has fallen behind in the mobile space – quite possibly for good, and now the tablets, with incredibly delayed responses to market opportunities.  The result is being shown in the stock price of this company that has managed to absolutely nowhere in the past ten years.

    So now it is going to be up to lawyers to bring in revenue to this behemoth?

  74. QA says:

    Wow. The level of vitriol in the comments here suggests that:

    1. There are a lot of lawyers practicing without a license in these comments

    2. Someone at Groklaw, etc. is pushing its users to spam this post

    While I certainly can't vouch for the quality of each patent, a couple things are very clear:

    First, Microsoft has made the patents involved very clear to the companies involved. That's how licensing discussions take place…

    Second, the patents are solid enough (despite their silly-sounding summaries) that HTC and Amazon already licensed them for Android. Additionally, LG, Novell, and other large firms have licensed many of them for their use of other forms of Linux.

    Microsoft has every right to protect their IP, the same way as open source developers do (or the FSF does on their behalf).  Let's not get hysterical very time they do it.

    If the patents are bad, they'll get knocked down in court.  If not, B&N will have to pay up like everyone else.

    The amazing part: regardless of the outcome, Android devices will continue to be sold and continue to thrive.

  75. Concerned Consumer says:

    If these patents are enforceable, why doesn't someone tied to ENIAC or IBM patent the use of the word Computer?  They can license not only the construction of any component of a computer, but charge consumers a yearly license to use equipment.  Microsoft, SCO, Apple, and all of the monolithic patent trolls can ruin the revolution they started just to watch it die.

    If this is really the future of IP litigation, where does it stop?  

  76. Jeff Williams says:

    Intellectual property law is completely broken if you can patent "inventions" like that. MS don't be a patent troll, why not try innovating instead?  My god, most applications and many web apps use most your your so called patents listed above, but they don't consider them patents they are just SENSIBLE DESIGN and Common sense IDEAS that should not be patentable.

  77. Andre says:

    I think I'll patent "create bogus, obvious patents to try to make money on top of other people's real work" and "litigate against better products to compensate our own crappy one". What about it?

  78. shawn says:

    Those who can, do.  Those who can't, litigate.

    So this is the best that Microcrap can come up with?  Why not, say, come up with a competitive phone?

  79. Mushtaq Hussain says:

    What are the implications of using their compiler (Visual Studio) with their frameworks (MFC, DOT NET) to produce a product that complies with their environment? Who owns the product?

  80. Andre van Westreenen says:

    Sue as much as you like, it will not produce a descent phone!

  81. Al Cr says:

    It is a shame, really. Compete, don't sue and spread FUD this will bring you nothing.

    Being a software developer I think these patents are abusive.

  82. emmebì says:

    If you cannot compete, sue.

    (C) Microsoft.

  83. Bad move. says:

    Regarding the previous messages, Microsoft is really alienating the developpers.

    Be careful Microsoft, you should not underestimate the impact of the friendly advices that the techies can give. When somebody wants to buy a phone/computer/tablet, who is consulted? There is a geek in every family circle.

  84. Kill Bill says:

    This is really Microshit showing their looser spririt.


    Hmmm we do not have any kind of tablet/slate to sell, and iPad is doing annoyingly good, and Android is doing annoyingly good – what can we do?

    Ahh lets do some patent trolling, we do probably have some patents in stock based on ideas we stole from Opera and others.


  85. Glenn says:

    These are mafia tactics and the only reason is that you try to bully is to scare other manufacturers to use Android… . It is the same with one of your lawyers making statements about Android and GPL headers that are pure FUD and which is also an innovative invention from Microsoft.  

    This is the last drop and for the first time in my live I will contact my European representative and the European commission because it is clear as water that Microsoft still wants to disrupt the market by any means possible. And I call for every European citizen to do the same.

    Microsoft is a real threat for true innovation and as an society we have suffered to long because of Microsoft questionable tactics.

    As an App developer I will also stay clearly away from your mobile platform. Couldn't care less if that means less users. I rather work closely with innovative companies and technology then betting my money on a sinking ship!

  86. Baptiste Mille-Mathias says:


    I am really impressed by the innovative technologies you claim you have created and  you're proud enought to apply patents for.

    Honnestly just focus on creating *really* innovative products, and you'll see people buy them, instead of trying to fear other companies with your patents. You're just so ridiculous.

    Microsoft a lost all its innovative halo, since its run into that patent breach.

    Don't count on me to give my money to you, and I think Nokia made a terrific mistake by relaying on you on the mobile market.

  87. Exhibit #1 in the campaign to repeal patent laws says:

    Just looking at this list, and knowing Microsoft thinks it can get away with patenting these obvious, trivial, software interface tweaks in the United States, is deeply embarassing to our nation.  Shame on Microsoft, and shame on Patent office and the United States court system who completely fail to protect the public interest by enabling their behavior.  

  88. nothing new here says:

    Microsoft thinks it can take ideas already in common use, patent them, and claim they are their own ideas.  It is sad that our patent system allows this to happen, and it is sad to see Microsoft actually believes they have a leg to stand on in owning these ideas, which there is clear and decent prior art.

  89. R says:

    Wow. Microsoft must be on they way out. This is sad and desperate. All this stuff looks obvious, not innovative. I guess Microsoft doesn't have any real innovation left in them and now must resort to patent trolling.

  90. markus says:

    Why innovate when you can file patents and sue the people that are making good products, and force them to license "your ideas".

    Don't forget that is how microsoft got its start. Not by innovation, but by buying an OS from some guy and licensing it to IBM (and then everyone else)

  91. Paul L says:

    Horacio Gutierrez,

    Thank you for making my decision final regarding Microsoft.  I've been on the fence for a while, but I'm fed up with the way Microsoft deals with competition.  I think if Microsoft spent more time trying to actually INNOVATE rather than using obvious patents to stifle competition, we could see some great things from the company.  

    Microsoft and I no longer have a relationship.  You just ended it.

  92. Yvette Bryars says:

    Really, I mean come on people.  I really am not liking Microsoft these days, and this is just one more reason for it.  They monopolize the software market, Gates has been named the richest man in the world for the 17th year in a row, and they really think this is necessary?  I wish they would spend more of that energy, time and money improving their pitiful operating system, working the bugs out of Office 2010 and let's not even start on the smart phone issue.  Fact is, if I wasn't forced to use Microsoft products in order to be compatible with so much of the world out there, I'd never spend another dime on anything by Microsoft, I'd go open source all the way – maybe someday we'll get there.

  93. Tim says:

    Stop litigating and try innovating. Patents like these are a joke. I don't care if its only your 7th patent lawsuit….its 7 too many.

  94. Jan Bilek says:

    Shame on you, Microsoft. I promise never to buy any Microsoft product again.

    And I am sorry dear Americans, but what is the deal with your patent system? Those patents in question – is this some kind of bad joke or what? It's just granting monopoly to 'inventors' of totally obvious things – have you decided to get rid of the free market?

  95. Greg Lambert says:

    Microsoft needs to keep focused on innovation instead of this legal trivia.

  96. Is MS Dying says:

    You all might appreciate this article – written in 2005, but very relevant today 🙂…/story

  97. Joe says:


    Keep focused?!? KEEP FOCUSED?!? MS was never focused on anything – they just kept innovating on patents and patent trolling and litigation.

    They have never created one single application/technology they sell today; it all came from other companies and technical innovators NOT related to the company.

    So "Keep focused" is not the proper use of the phrase… More like keep dying so we can all be free!

  98. anonymous says:

    Good job MICROSOFT, you've shown an expected inability to progress past the 20th century! Congratulations!

  99. clippit says:

    It looks like you've ran out of innovation! Would you like some help?

    these guys have got the idea:

    sue them, I dare ya!

  100. paul says:

    I just need to help one of the few Pro-Microsoft_Suing posters here to understand a few things.

    "Wow. The level of vitriol in the comments here suggests that: …."

    No, this doesn't suggest posters here are ignorant of the law (your point 1).  No, this doesn't mean Growklaw, TechDirt, Slashdot, Reddit, and others are pushing users to spam this post.

    What this suggests is that many of us are rather disgusted with the tactics that large companies and patent trolls use to tax other companies that are actually producing products we as consumers want.  The Big Tech companies unsurprisingly love to cross license their huge patent arsenals because thats the best way to prevent small, agile innovators from spoiling their profits.

    "While I certainly can't vouch for the quality of each patent, a couple things are very clear:

    "First, Microsoft has made the patents involved very clear to the companies involved. That's how licensing discussions take place…

    "Second, the patents are solid enough (despite their silly-sounding summaries) that HTC and Amazon already licensed them for Android. Additionally, LG, Novell, and other large firms have licensed many of them for their use of other forms of Linux."

    Licensing agreements between big companies are in the best interest of Big Tech to control and avoid innovation that might disrupt their profits.  Additionally, even if these patents *could* be invalidated, that would be expensive, and there are hundreds if not thousands of other patents that Microsoft could toss into a legal fight if it came to it.  Just because big companies license patent rights to each other is not necessarily proof of the validity of the patents in question.  What it does prove is that licensing the patents is in the best interests of the companies involved.

    "Microsoft has every right to protect their IP, the same way as open source developers do (or the FSF does on their behalf).  Let's not get hysterical very time they do it.

    "If the patents are bad, they'll get knocked down in court.  If not, B&N will have to pay up like everyone else.

    "The amazing part: regardless of the outcome, Android devices will continue to be sold and continue to thrive."

    Microsoft has every right to protect their IP, and we as consumers have every right to punish them in the market place and on forums like this one when we as consumers believe Microsoft is out of line.  The fact that patents and copyright is used by open source projects does not justify the use of patents to suppress competition.  If Microsoft wants to produce a compelling product and put it into the market place using interesting and compelling licensing models (LIKE ANDROID IS DOING), then let them!  Compete with Android, but don't expect the public to reward Microsoft for this.

    And yes, Android devices will continue to be sold and will continue to thrive despite the efforts by Microsoft to use patent law to stamp them out.

  101. DanMoreno says:

    I consider myself #Microsoft generation, but all the comments are sadly true…

    I think, MS will loose this battle, we'll see.

  102. I am a developer in one of the companies you are suing says:

    I am a developer in one of the companies you are suing, we use microsoft products, it is ironic how in the mist of effort of going for open source software in our company, and away from microsoft technlogies.  You go ahead and sue us. The proponents of open technologies just wont in our company, thanks to you microsoft.  

    Thanks to you any developer cant ever say anything good about you or your products in our company

    I wish you will look a little further than your immediate needs

  103. Larry says:

    Gee, was that what happened when you infringed Stacker’s patents and incorporated it into DOS6?…/Stac_Electronics

    One more reason why I DON’T run M$ Products.  But I get paid to always fix them.

  104. Larry says:

    Ooops.  Almost forgot your lawsuit with Sun over Java:…/Microsoft_Java_Virtual_Machine

  105. .jason says:

    First off, I'm a PC.  Not like that, literally a PC, and an Intel one at that.  Just the other day my monitor shared with a story about how we helped the user read the text it displayed before the background finished loading.  The user was so excited.  It told me.  When they downloaded some files they were so ecstatic to see a progress bar suspended in an awe-striking superimposed hover, right on top of the very text we displayed before the background completed loading.  Get that?  Right on top of the text we rushed so quickly to display.  How ironic that they can't read it now BECAUSE of the bar.  Funny how our patents "superimpose" on each other.

    Oh yeah, I'm a PC, and without you Microsoft, none of this would have been possible.  It took a giant like you to think this neat-o stuff up.  A+

  106. DrTune says:

    Lol and you guys want to attract developers to Windows Phone 7?

    I wasn't wildly excited by the technology but now you've done this I'll have to order a longer bargepole.

    Lame patents too.

    Horacio congrats for writing this utter garbage with a straight face; I'm sure your check is in the post.

  107. JC2 says:

    Q: Why would Microsoft sue the nose-diving B&N, a struggling retailer heavy on bricks-and-mortar?

    A: Because Microsoft is scared of Amazon.  Specifically, Microsoft is scared by the prospect that Amazon will go gangbusters with Android-base Kindles (or tablets generally), and MS will miss out on monetizing other companies' innovation. This baseless attack on the Nook is actually a shot across Amazon's bow in attempt to extract rents from Amazon's future Android-based revenue stream.

    Shame on you Horacia. We see right through your shenanigans, and you're infuriating everyone except QA below.

  108. HTC says:

    Quit bandying the "HTC did it so it's legit" line.


    Of COURSE they're going to go with a licensing agreement. It doesn't mean they, any more than the dozen other companies involved in the latest round of the let's-sue-everyone circle-jerk, believe microsoft's claim has merit.

    What was the alternative? Let's take the company providing the software for half of our phones to court? Ridiculous example is ridiculous.

  109. Scott Dunn says:

    So, Microsoft wants to be free to innovate, but wants protection from competition through patents.  Sounds like government sponsored socialism to me, Horatio.  Every patent issued is an infringement upon my property rights.  Besides, you aren't even willing to name your patents without a lawsuit.  Why don't you list your patents where everyone can find them in one place?  Afraid?  Probably.

    BTW, just wondering, are you suing over the claims or the methods to reach those claims?  How many methods do your patents cover?  Just one?  Or an infinite number?  If more than one, then you only have a patent on an idea, not an invention.

  110. Hans Zimmer says:

    Uau! Never saw so many Google employees together… 🙂

  111. james says:

    This is what losers do.

  112. james says:

    Wow the USPTO allowed patents to be issued for such ridiculous software items.  Way to give giant companies the power to stifle all creativity.

  113. Anti-MS says:

    "Uau! Never saw so many Google employees together… :)"

    …a classic MS strategy is "always try to discredit your critics."

  114. Nobody Special says:

    I wonder if MS ever talks to the people who actually developed the things they patented.  Chances the MS employees themselves consider these ideas banal and undeserving of legal protection.  What does that say about a company who chooses to pursue this kind of protection.  Either the developers opinion matters or it does not.  If it doesn't then it can only be on the basis that the idea is not all that special.  In which case it isn't worth protecting in the first place.

  115. Micheal Marshall says:

    Reason number 67,542 that I will never willingly buy/use/support another MS product ever again.  I love my Xbox360 but on simple principal I'm over it.   PS3, 4, 5, 6 here I come.  

  116. bernhard says:

    This is the same as patenting breathing for humans and livestock which would hit the livestock farmers the worst who actually feed the population, ending up in starvation (read here new products, markets and innovation) for many.

    The patents listed are end-user usability related. Just because it is limited to devices for now does not mean it will stay there. These patents are stupid since so many people can have the same idea independently from each other. If it was a totally new invention never seen before, then it might be different, but not when thousands can do and think of the same ideas.

  117. Wayne says:

    Another reason why software patents shouldn't be legal. Those are common sense approaches to common problems.

  118. Realist says:

    These patents have been around for a while, before they were 'obvious' features. Sure you think they are obvious now because they've been around in computing and you're conditioned that this is how things should be done.

    It's funny how when any other company, say IBM or Apple do this, they are hoisted on the shoulders of their sheep as warriors for the downtrodden. But when Microsoft does this, you boneheads come out of the woodwork to spout of your half-baked conspiracy theories and claim how evil they are.

    Get a grip.

  119. Kristian says:

    Would you please stop software patenting and start to innovate? Thanks.

  120. Tachyon Feathertail says:

    Freaking jerks.

  121. Siddharthan says:

    Its funny to see the way teenagers think on this issue…

    Well.. As a technologist, I can simply say that If its not by Windows Copy paste system (Select, Copy Paste).. Selecting Text, Interacting with Web.. OMG.. It would have taken decades for other companies to come up with those ideas..

    Google just reinvented the browser.. But who invented it> MS..

    Apple creates a tablet market.. but who created an IT market> MS..

    MS is no wonder an innovation power house.. I do still appreciate other's innovations.. But clearly if you want to use someone else's ideas.. Just License it.. You have to pay to use others forward thinking in this world..

  122. Kofi says:

    The target Barnes&Noble shows that you are looking for a quick settlement to establish your claims on Android. Microsoft should support Android instead of pushing its WinMobile7 solutions.

  123. patent litigation says:

    This brings to mind a quote I once heard from (former Van Halen frontman) David Lee Roth: When asked how you know when you've "made it," Roth responded: "When you can spell 'subpoena' without thinking about it." The abundance of copyright and patent litigation volleyed against Android is testimony to its success. Time will tell whether or not it will be able to survive the onslaught.…/3611

  124. desbest says:

    I find nothing wrong with Microsoft having those patents and licensing them for money. In the cut throat competitive world of technology, it's a game of dog eat dog. If you don't take the plate, somebody else will.

    Would you rather those 3 patents be patented by Apple? That's what I thought. When Apple had their "original" iPhone patents, they used them to try to STOP new smartphones from entering the market.

    Microsoft is doing nothing of the sort.

  125. jango says:

    Oh! Microsoft,

    Sorry for all the texts I've selected for the last 10 years…

    I never knew that "selecting text" is your patent…

    I wont select any texts for my life time….

    Sorry once again….

  126. Andreas Kuckartz says:

    Barnes & Noble Charges Microsoft with Misusing Patents to Further an Anticompetive Scheme Against Android

  127. Details of the BN lawsuit says:

    See Groklaw for the details and the power-answer from Barnes&Noble,

    Microsoft is a shameful company. And we know that when a company is playing the 'software patent' card, they are out of ideas.

  128. Mark B says:

    Check out the actuall B&N response and their ripping apart of the actual patents

  129. jeroen says:

    It's sad that such trivial ideas can be patented. In the end, me, the customer, is paying the lawyer's bills for this mess.

  130. tonyspeed says:

    Microsoft SHOULD have been disbanded. It is a leech on society.

  131. fritz says:

    Today I learned that patents are ridiculous in nature and can be given for vague ideas.

    "Hey guys, I'm Microsoft, I got a patent for 'things that can be held in a hand!'"

    Apple better watch out, apparently Microsoft has a patent on "things with buttons and/or screens that can be used in some way."

  132. Dudu Maroja says:

    shame on you MS, Shame on you!

  133. Mark says:

    Really? Are you serious? How stupid do you think people are? You guys must be really desperate for ideas if your suing over those trivial features…. I could have come up with those and I'm not even out of high school.

  134. Mario says:

    Of course Microsoft will eventually lose in court and be forced to pay billions. But only after they have won in the market using classic maffia tactics. It's been the 'Microsoft Way' ever since DR-DOS.

  135. John Nelson says:

    Come one, Microsoft is doing the right thing!

  136. Robert domiani says:

    No matter how you dress up blackmail it is still blackmail.

  137. Glenn Pratt says:

    I don't understand how a thinking human could consider these items novel or innovations.  As a Computer Science major and software developer by trade, I'm disgusted by this and will be avoiding Microsoft in the future.

  138. Anonymous says:

    Pingback from China revela lista secreta de patentes de Microsoft acerca de Android – WRadio

  139. Anonymous says:

    Pingback from Chinese gov???t reveals Microsoft???s secret list of Android-killer patents | Padroni

  140. Anonymous says:

    Список патентов, которые Microsoft использовали для давления на производителей устройств на базе Android, держался в секрете больше трех лет.

    Но этому пришел конец. Китайский антимонопольный регулятор раскрыл полный список из 310 патентов, доступ

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