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Spring Design claims Barnes & Noble stole e-reader design

updated 07:30 am EST, Tue November 3, 2009

Spring lawsuit says Nook reader copies Alex

Spring Design late Monday revealed that it has sued Barnes & Noble for allegedly infringing on the design of its two-screen Alex e-book reader. The company claims to have been working with Barnes & Noble in confidential terms since spring of this year but that the bookstore 'stole' the idea, unveiling its Nook reader without telling Spring Design in advance. The latter also says it has been obtaining patents since 2006, well before development of the Nook would have begun.

The two devices share the same basic concept of an e-paper display at top but a color touchscreen at the bottom to navigate the book library. While the physical interface for the Nook is simpler and somewhat different, both of the platforms are based on Android and were unveiled within a day of each other. Spring had intended to offer the design as a reference platform to multiple third parties.

The plaintiff hasn't said what it seeks from Barnes & Noble in the suit but appears eager for a settlement as it wants to "move forward together" with the book retailer.

Barnes & Noble hasn't commented on the accusations, which imply that the Nook's basic design principle is lifted from its partner without permission.

by MacNN Staff



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