Barnes & Noble has accused Microsoft of misusing patent law to thwart rivals to its Windows Phone 7 business by requiring them to pay "pay exorbitant licensing fees or face protracted and expensive patent infringement litigation."
The charges come in a response filed in a case Microsoft brought against Barnes & Noble last month before International Trade Commission and the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Washington. Microsoft alleged that Barnes & Noble's Nook e-reader violates its patents covering the way users tab through various screens to find the information they're after, as well as the way they interact with documents and e-books.
The suit is part of Microsoft's broader campaign against Google's Android operating system, which the Nook runs. Microsoft also named Foxconn International Holdings and Inventec Corporation as defendants in the case.
In its filing, Barnes & Noble accuses Microsoft of asserting patent claims over "arbitrary, outmoded, or non-essential design features." The filing, first reported by All About Microsoft blogger Mary Jo Foley, accuses Microsoft of abusing the patent system to hinder competition.… Read more