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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.

Follow Jon Brodkin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jbrodkin

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

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