Amazon’s Kindle Fire Under Fire for Patent Infringement

By Joseph Mandour on October 10, 2011

California Patent LawLos Angeles – Smartphone Technologies has filed suit against Amazon in the Eastern District of Texas, alleging that the Amazon Kindle Fire and other Kindle products infringe five separate patents. Amazon unveiled the Kindle Fire last week and has scheduled for a November 15 release. Preorders for the widely anticipated tablet reached 95,000 sales in the 24 hours after the tablet was first announced. By releasing the Kindle Fire, Amazon is hoping to push past the e-reader market and to compete with Apple and its iPad.

Smartphone Technologies is owned by Acacia Research Corp., a nonpracticing entity, which amasses patents and licenses them to subsidiaries. Smartphone’s complaint alleges that Amazon is infringing patents for:

• Power Conserving Intuitive Device Discovery Technique in a Bluetooth Environment
• Handheld Computer System that Attempts to Establish an Alternative Network Link Upon Failing to Establish a Requested Network Link
• Method and Apparatus for Communicating Information over Low Bandwidth Communications Networks
• Method for controlling a handheld computer by entering commands onto a display feature of the handheld computer; and
• System and method for displaying and manipulating multiple calendars on a personal digital assistant

Each of these patents covers common features in smartphones and tablets. Smartphone has alleged similar patent infringements against other companies in the past, including Apple, Research in Motion, and Motorola.

Smartphone’s complaint against Amazon, however, does not include requests for preliminary injunctions. The company is seeking only damages and reasonable royalties. Therefore, Amazon customers who have preordered the Kindle Fire can breathe a sigh of relief because it appears that Smartphone’s lawsuit will not affect the release date of Kindle Fire. While this is good news for Amazon customers, Amazon cannot be happy about getting tangled up in the constant patent litigation surrounding personal electronics. This is not exactly a warm reception into the tablet market.

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Posted in: Patent Infringement