November 10, 2011

Barnes & Noble looks to DOJ for action against Microsoft


Barnes & Noble has filed a formal complaint with the Department of Justice against Microsoft for bullying tactics involving the threat of “frivolous” lawsuits. B&N argues that these tactics are meant to generate royalty payments for patents that Microsoft feels the Android platform has utilized without consent. B&N argues that the patents are not specific and that Microsoft is using the threat of costly litigation to milk smaller payments from companies, and thus impinging on business.

Paul McDougall of InformationWeek reports:

Earlier this year, Microsoft filed a complaint against Barnes & Noble with the International Trade Commission claiming that the merchant’s Nook reader violates its patents.

“Microsoft’s willingness to bully small players with expensive litigation raises a substantial barrier to entry in any market in which it claims dominance,” said Barnes & Noble general counsel Eugene DelFelice, in a letter earlier this year to former DOJ antitrust chief Christine Varney, according to a report Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal.

When asked about the accusation, Microsoft responded they make  their patents “available on reasonable terms for other operating systems” and added that they would be “pleased to extend a license to Barnes & Noble.”

Then there was something about not being able to eat cake and have it too.

Paul Oliver is the marketing manager of Melville House. Previously he was co-owner of Wolfgang Books in Philadelphia.