Amazon’s Kindle Fire a Hot Target For Patent Lawsuit

Orange County – Amazon’s Kindle Fire hit the market yesterday, and it is already the subject of a patent lawsuit. Smartphone Technologies, LLC claims that Amazon directly infringed on several touch screen related patents. It also claims that Amazon indirectly infringed on these patents by allowing its customers to use the device. It filed suit in federal court against Amazon in the Texas Eastern District and seeks royalty fees.

The patents at issue cover common smartphone features integrated into the Kindle Fire’s design. The first count alleges infringement on a patent for a power conserving device discovery technique in a Bluetooth environment. The second count alleges infringement on a patent for enabling a handheld device to establish an alternate network link if the initial link fails. The third count alleges infringement on a patent for communicating information over low bandwidth networks. The fourth count alleges infringement on a method for entering commands on a handheld computer by tapping an icon on a touch screen. The fifth count alleges infringement on a method for storing and accessing calendars on a personal digital assistant, a patent previously issued to Palm.

The Kindle Fire, a compact tablet version of the Kindle e-book reader, boasts a full color 7-inch display with a touch screen and internet access. It contains 8 gigabytes of storage and has a battery life of up to 8 hours. It costs $199 and is expected to be the Apple iPad’s major competitor.

Acacia Research, a publicly traded firm involved in purchasing patents and licensing them through subsidiaries, owns Smartphone Technologies. It sued Novell and Red Hat in 2007 for alleged infringement on a method of workload sharing between remote computers. Both lawsuits were invalidated. Acacia has also sued Apple and Research in Motion for touch screen feature infringement. While Research in Motion settled, Apple is digging in its heels. Amazon appears ready to do the same.




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