Barnes & Noble is asking the Department of Justice to investigate Microsoft's patent-licensing tactics, accusing the software giant of trying to thwart competition with flimsy infringement claims.
"Microsoft is attempting to raise its rivals' costs in order to drive out competition and deter innovation in mobile devices," Barnes & Noble lawyer Peter T. Barbur wrote in an October 17 letter to Gene I. Kimmelman, the Justice Department's chief counsel for competition policy in its antitrust division. "Microsoft's conduct poses serious antitrust concerns and warrants further exploration by the Department of Justice."
Barnes & Noble's Nook e-readers run on Google's Android mobile operating system, which has been under attack from Microsoft patent lawyers. Microsoft has convinced several device makers--including HTC, Wistron, and Compal--to pay it licensing fees for every device they sell that uses Android.
Barnes & Noble refused to pay the fee, leading Microsoft to sue it in March, accusing the bookseller of patent infringement. In its response a month later, Barnes & Noble countered that Microsoft was misusing patent law to slow down rivals.
The part that I like is "Barnes & Noble refused to pay the fee". All this patent stuff is getting out of hand. Nice to see someone saying "no".