Innovation Asset Blog

Patent defense may shape future of Barnes & Noble

As Barnes & Noble prepares to build upon the success of its Nook ereader line with a holiday season debut of the Nook Tablet, the company is gearing up to defend its patents against competing manufacturer Microsoft.

Although the bookseller's latest quarterly earnings report revealed a slight dip in revenues, the Nook brand was a bright spot on the balance sheet. Sales of Nook devices, accessories and related digital content grew 85 percent, generating $220 million - or approximately 12 percent of the company's total revenue - for the quarter.

According to Digital Trends, Barnes & Noble appears to be preparing for a potential intellectual property backlash from competing manufacturers ahead of its upcoming Nook Tablet launch. The company has made a bold move by acquiring the services of intellectual property attorney David Boies, whose past credits include leading a Department of Justice-backed monopoly case against Microsoft in the 1990s.

The fact that the Nook is run by an Android-based operating system does not bode well for Barnes & Noble. Microsoft has already secured several lucrative licensing agreements during patent battles with several Android partners. But according to Digital Trends, the bookseller may approach from an antitrust angle, asserting that Microsoft has abused the patent system to suppress market innovation and create hurdles for competitors.

Peter Ackerman

Peter Ackerman

Founder & CEO, Innovation Asset Group, Inc.