updated 06:10 pm EST, Tue January 31, 2012
ITC disagrees Microsoft abusing patents
The International Trade Commission gave an initial ruling Tuesday that Barnes & Noble couldn't bring its antitrust claims against Microsoft. An Administrative Law Judge granted Microsoft's motion to dismiss the claims that it was abusing patents to try and squeeze Android out of the market. Details of the full ruling were still unpublished, but the Office of Unfair Import Investigations had already hinted that Barnes & Noble wasn't passing legal muster on issues such as licensing, which isn't compulsory for Microsoft.
The decision could throw out much of Barnes & Noble's work, including its investigation into prior art. It can hope for a revised ruling, but isn't likely to see a significant change.
A permanent defeat would at least steering Barnes & Noble towards the settlement and royalties it was hoping to avoid on the Nook. It may also serve as a warning shot to companies like Motorola that have contested Microsoft's approach.
With deals with LG, Samsung, HTC, and others, Microsoft now has the majority of Android makers paying royalties for purported use of its patents. Poor Windows Phone sales could mean that Microsoft is making more income from Android than its own products. [via Florian Mueller]