Unreleased Amazon Kindle Fire Under Attack in Patent Infringement Suit

By Joseph Mandour on October 11, 2011

amazon-200x132 Orange County – The Amazon Kindle Fire, Amazon’s yet to debut tablet and full color e-reader, is the subject of a recent patent infringement lawsuit filed by Smartphone Technologies, LLC. The subject of the infringement action is U.S. Patent No. 6,956,562, which involves a method for software control using an interactive touch screen. The patent’s first claim describes a “method for software control using a user-interactive display screen feature…that reduces stylus or other manipulations necessary to invoke software functionality from the display screen.”

This touch screen patent seems to cover a feature rather common in the smartphone and tablet market, and ownership of this patent has led Smartphone Technologies, LLC to initiate patent actions against other tablet and smartphone makers such as Apple and Research in Motion. iPhone and iPad manufacturer, Apple, is still defending the action in court. However, Research in Motion, developers of the BlackBerry Smartphone, elected to negotiate a $612 million settlement with Smartphone Technologies to continue using the patent.

Often described as a patent troll, Smartphone Technologies, LLC and parent company Acacia Research Corp have certainly benefited from ownership of this touch screen method patent for personal digital assistants (PDA’s). Nearly all smartphones and tablets utilize some form of touch screen technology, often exclusively, making it an extremely valuable patent.

Smartphone Technologies now claims that the Amazon Kindle Fire, which is set for a November 15, 2011 release, infringes upon this patent as well as a separate patent covering “A method for displaying and manipulating multiple calendars on a PDA.” The Kindle Fire, priced at under $200 and expected to sell millions during the Christmas season, is already experiencing over 50,000 preorders a day in anticipation of its mid-November release.

Like its predecessor the Kindle Touch, the Kindle Fire will use a type of touch screen technology to operate its tablet features and to perform e-reader functions such as page turning. If Smartphone Technologies’ infringement lawsuit is successful, Amazon may have to pay a royalty or negotiate some type of license to continue using the method on its Kindle devices.

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Posted in: Patent Infringement