Microsoft Takes Aim at Google’s Android Again

microsoft suing goggleMicrosoft Corp. again took legal action aimed at Google Inc.’s Android software on Monday, suing Barnes & Noble Inc., Foxconn International Holdings Ltd. and Inventec Corp. for alleged patent infringement related to Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-reader, which runs on the Google operating system.

Microsoft Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Horacio Gutierrez said in a statement on a company website that the company filed suit 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,” Gutierrez said. He added that while HTC and Inc. have agreed to licensing deals related to their devices, “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.”

Microsoft sued Motorola Inc. last year, alleging that the company’s Android-based mobile devices infringe on Microsoft patents. “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,” Gutierrez said.

A Barnes & Noble spokeswoman declined to comment. A Google spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Unlike Microsoft’s mobile-phone software, Google’s Android is largely provided free of charge to handset makers, and is developed according to an open-source model that makes use of outside engineering.

Android has become increasingly popular since its introduction, eclipsing Microsoft as the technology of choice for many smartphone makers, and rivaling software from Apple Inc. and Research In Motion Ltd. to become one of the most popular platforms.

However, Android’s open-source nature has exposed it to legal challenges in addition to those filed by Microsoft.

Business software giant Oracle Corp. targeted Android with a lawsuit filed in August, alleging that Android infringes on intellectual property obtained by Oracle when it bought Sun Microsystems last year.

The patents asserted by Microsoft on Monday cover ways of “tabbing through screens” and quickly browsing the Internet, Microsoft said in a statement.

Source: McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.