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Thursday, 19 March 2009 03:17

Discovery Channel owner sues Amazon alleging Kindle infringes ebook patent

Discovery Communications, the owner of the popular Discovery Channel, has filed a patent infringement suit against web titan alleging infringement of a patent for electronic book technology. The suit names the Kindle and Kindle 2 e-book readers and Amazon's e-book delivery system and seeks damages and royalty payments for continued use of the technology.

The Kindle readers and Amazon's e-book delivery system have been hailed as a breakthrough for the electronic delivery and storage of books, although Amazon has not yet expanded the system to include regions outside the US.

Currently, Amazon have a contract with Sprint that enables Kindle to download books and other printed material via the carrier's EVDO network.

It is not yet clear whether the suit against Amazon has implications for the manufacturers of other e-book readers or whether Amazon has been singled out because of its unique supply chain tie-in between online content delivery where it makes most of its money and the Kindle devices.

According to Discovery Communications, the broadcasting and film production company and its 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, which have been patented.

Filed in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, the  Discovery suite alleges that Amazon's sale of the Kindle and Kindle 2 products and its electronic book delivery system infringe U.S. Patent Number 7,298,851, "Electronic Book Security and Copyright Protection System."

Joseph A. LaSala, Jr., General Counsel of Discovery Communications, said in a statement on Discovery's website:

"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.  Legal action is not something Discovery takes lightly. Our tradition as an inventive company has produced considerable intellectual property assets for our shareholders, and today's infringement litigation is part of our effort to protect and defend those assets."

A copy of the filing can be found here.

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Stan Beer


Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 30 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.

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