Microsoft Asserts Patents In E-Readers, Tablets 21/03/2011 by Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment IP-Watch is a non-profit independent news service, and subscribing to our service helps support our goals of bringing more transparency to global IP and innovation policies. To access all of our content, please subscribe now. You also have the opportunity to offer additional support to your subscription, or to donate. US software-maker Microsoft today filed lawsuits for patent infringement against bookseller Barnes & Noble and its makers of Android-based electronic book reader and tablet devices, giving it a place in that burgeoning market. [Update: the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) issued a release on 25 March calling this action by Microsoft the launch of a “patent war.” Release here.] The legal actions filed at the International Trade Commission and a US District Court in Washington state came after Microsoft tried unsuccessfully for over a year to reach licensing agreements, the company said in a release. The device manufacturers are Foxconn and Inventec. According to Microsoft, the patents cover a range of functions, such as: “natural ways of interacting with devices by tabbing through various screens to find the information they need; surfing the Web more quickly; and interacting with documents and e-books.” Microsoft Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Horacio Gutierrez blogged about it here. Microsoft provided further details on its allegedly infringed patents here: Legal Action Against Barnes & Noble, Foxconn and Inventec – Summary of Related Patents This case is based on infringement by Android-based devices of key Microsoft patented innovations that help e-readers and tablets make user-friendly. Our patents help make possible key features that users have come to expect from their tablets and other “smart” devices. • People value natural ways of interacting with e-readers and tablets. People want easy ways to navigate through information provided by their device apps. Microsoft’s patents help with this by creating a separate control window that displays tabs listing various types of information. • People use their devices to surf the Web. When people access the Internet, they value the speed with which web pages appear. Microsoft’s patents enable the page’s content to be displayed before the background image is received. This allows users to begin interacting with the page immediately, without having to wait for their device to download a large image file. Users also want to know the download status of their content. Our patents enable this information to be superimposed on the content display as new content is downloading. • People access and interact with documents and other e-content from their devices. When using a document, they want to be able to select text and adjust that selection easily. They also want to be able to annotate text– particularly when reading an e-book. Our patents enable users to select text and easily expand their selection either direction, as well as annotate text without changing the underlying document. That Microsoft has important patents in this area should not surprise anyone – we’ve spent over 30 years developing cutting-edge computer software. Deeper Dive • Technologies that enable natural user interaction are key to the success of mobile devices. o People also expect to be able to access command windows without interfering with the application’s main window, and to be able to tab through various screens to find the information they need. Microsoft’s patents enable the opening of a new, tabbed control window. (U.S. Patent No. 5,889,522) • Our technologies help speed up web surfing and keep users informed of download status. o Surfing the web quickly is a key device feature. One of the patents in this case enables devices to show the content of a page even while the background is still rendering, allowing users to interact with the page more quickly. (U.S. Patent No. 5,778,372) o Users also want to know the status of their downloads. A Microsoft patent provides information about download status on top of the content display. (U.S. Patent No. 6,339,780) • Our innovations facilitate users’ ability to interact with document and other e-content. o The ability to select text is critical to working with documents. One of our patents enables users to select text, see what is selected via highlighting, and expand the selection in either direction as desired. (U.S. Patent No. 6,891,551) o Users also want to annotate e-books and other documents. A Microsoft patent allows people to insert and review annotations without changing the underlying document, and to select annotations and be brought to the related portion of the document. (U.S. Patent No. 6,957,233) "Microsoft Asserts Patents In E-Readers, Tablets" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.