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The Microsoft/Android war: Which patents are at stake?

Court documents detail Microsoft patents allegedly violated by Android.

By , Network World
July 06, 2011 03:01 PM ET

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Moving on to the complaint against Barnes & Noble, Microsoft claims the Android-based Nook e-readers infringe on five patents. These include:

• No. 5,778,372 from 1998, titled "Remote Retrieval and Display Management of Electronic Document with Incorporated Images," covering a browser that initially displays electronic documents without background images so they can be loaded more quickly.

• No. 6,339,780 from 2002, titled "Loading Status in a Hypermedia Browser Having a Limited Display Area," referring to a temporary graphic element that displays while a browser is loading content.

• No. 5,889,522 from 1999, titled "System Provided Child Windows Controls," covering a dynamic link library for implementing window controls in an operating system.

• No. 6,891,551 from 2005, titled "Selection Handles in Editing Electronic Documents," a method of highlighting and selecting elements in documents with the ability to resize and drag selections.

• No. 6,957,233 from 2005, titled "Method and Apparatus for Capturing and Rendering Annotations for Non-modifiable Electronic Content," letting users select objects on pages they otherwise cannot edit, and storing annotations "separately from the non-modifiable portion of the file."

Clearly, Microsoft is asserting a broad range of patents against vendors that build Android-based products. In addition to suing Motorola and Barnes & Noble, Microsoft is reportedly demanding $15 from Samsung for every Android smartphone it sells.

Although a quick summary of these patents may make the technologies seem vague or obvious, Microsoft has to prove that products infringe all aspects of a patent to win in court. Given that a deep-pocketed vendor like HTC already settled with Microsoft and is paying Redmond each time it sells an Android phone, it would seem Microsoft's lawyers can be quite convincing.

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Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

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