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Judge rules that targeting Android for destruction is legally OK

An ITC judge tossed out the key defense Barnes & Noble wanted to use in a patent suit by Microsoft. The full opinion lays out the existential threat Android faces from patent claims.

We learned on January 31 that Barnes & Noble had suffered a major setback in a patent-infringement lawsuit filed against the company by Microsoft.

That day, an administrative law judge (ALJ) at the International Trade Commission (ITC) had tossed out the company’s key defense, that Microsoft was misusing its patents. Today the full opinion has been made public.

I found the full decision thanks to a story by GeekWire’s Todd Bishop, who noted that Theodore Essex, administrative law judge for the International Trade Commission, had called Microsoft’s negotiating tactics “certainly hard bargaining,” but not illegal. (You can see the full PDF here.)

Here’s what the ALJ said:

Microsoft argues that Barnes & Noble has failed to offer any conduct that could either by itself or collectively constitute patent misuse. Barnes & Noble responds that Microsoft is committing patent misuse through its actions against the Android operating system. Staff agrees with Microsoft that Barnes & Noble’s theory does not amount to patent misuse.

The decision lays out a chronology: Microsoft “engaged in discussions” with Barnes & Noble beginning in February 2010. Microsoft “suggested Barnes & Noble take a license to Microsoft’s patents and mentioned potential royalty rates.”

Source : ZDNet : Read the whole story here.


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