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Nook E-reader Starts Microsoft vs. Barnes & Noble Lawsuit

As more brick and mortar bookstores close everyday, booksellers must find new ways to stay in business. This often means developing and selling e-readers, which turn out to have their own drawback: lawsuits. Today Microsoft sued Barnes & Noble over patent infringement regarding the Android-based e-reader, Nook. The patent in question deals topics such as the tabs to move between screens, surfing the web faster, using documents, and the way users interact with e-books.

This is one of many lawsuits Microsoft is involved in against Google’s mobile operating system, however they have yet to directly go after the search engine giant yet. Also involved in the same suit are Nook manufacturers Foxconn International Holdings Ltd. and Inventec Corp. Previously sued was Motorola, again over Android devices. Microsoft has even filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission, which deals with infringing products. HTC managed to avoid the rampage of lawsuits, becoming a partner with Microsoft after working out a deal last year that allows them to use Android devices.

Microsoft claims they have been trying to obtain a licensing agreement with all three companies involved in the current lawsuit for quite a while, to no avail.

Lawsuit stifles innovation and given that Microsoft does not have a popular reader, is it reasonable for them to have a patent on what is essentially an idea, at most a design, in the fast-pasted technology environment we are in today? Let me know what you think.