Publishers Lunch has it summed up:
Discovery Communications filed a patent suit against Amazon.com in Federal court in Delaware, alleging that the Kindle and the ways in which Amazon sells and delivers documents to the device infringes a patent filed for in 1999 and awarded in November 2007 for an "Electronic Book Security and Copyright Protection System." Discovery general counsel Joseph A. LaSala, Jr. says in the announcement, "The Kindle and Kindle 2 are important and popular content delivery systems. We believe they infringe our intellectual property rights, and that we are entitled to fair compensation."More...
A Discovery spokesperson underscores that they do not want an injunction to stop sales of Kindle--they just want compensation. (It's not clear from accounts so far why they have not sued Sony and other vendors as well.) So far Amazon has not commented on the suit.
The release reminds readers that "Discovery Communications and [founder] John S. Hendricks were significant players in the development of digital content and delivery services in the 1990's. Hendricks' work included inventions of a secure, encrypted system for the selection, transmission, and sale of electronic books."
Cnet reports that "Hendricks is a bit of an inventor. In the 1990s, Hendricks tried his hand at coming up with systems to digitize content. He explored technologies involving the digitization of TV content as well as e-book systems. In 2004, he sold the TV patents but Discovery kept the e-reader patents."
I'd actually heard some good things about this latest version of the Kindle; I'd even considered putting up one of those ad thingies from Amazon (I am an associate, after all :-)), but now I wonder if it's worth it.
Not that I think anything's going to come from this soon; I've worked in a couple of legal departments now, and if anything, it's that time moves verrrry sloooowly in the legal realm. (I have other, personal experience in the courts system, too.)
I just wonder how (whether? if?) this is going to impact Amazon. Will they spend a ton of money defending themselves (lawyers ain't cheap, as I know all too well) so that they're operating on very thin margins? Or maybe they'll end up paring down their wares; goodbye books/ebooks? (Probably not. And this is all speculation.)
What do you think? Any thoughts as to what, if any, this will do to Amazon's bottom line?
Love and kisses,