updated 03:25 pm EDT, Tue March 17, 2009
Discovery Sues Amazon
Cable channel provider Discovery today sued Amazon in a Delaware US District Court over what it claims are patent infringements over the Kindle's e-book distribution system. The TV provider claimed that both the original device and the Kindle 2 echo elements of its own online distribution methods, which let users watch episodes either on computers or on smartphones and other mobile devices. Discovery is seeking to block Kindle 2 sales or else to collect royalties as compensation for future sales.
The lawsuit has potential ramifications for other online store providers as Amazon's methods are relatively typical for both purchasing and subscriptions for most mobile devices, including iPhone downloads from the iTunes Store. It's unclear whether Discovery feels its patents apply to Apple or other electronics designers.
Amazon's looming conflict is the second the company has encountered since launching the Kindle 2 in February. The first was an accusation by the Author's Guild that the e-book device's text-to-speech function allegedly bypassed authors' rights for audiobook versions. Amazon settled the dispute by adjusting text-to-speech rights and letting book publishers disable the feature in individual titles, though Amazon has maintained that the feature is legal.