Author Topic: Spring Design seeks injunction barring Nook sales  (Read 2820 times)  

Offline 911jason

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Spring Design seeks injunction barring Nook sales
« on: November 02, 2009, 08:37:39 pm »
http://www.engadget.com/2009/11/02/spring-design-sues-barnes-and-noble-over-the-nook/



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We knew something was up with the Spring Design Alex dual-screen ebook reader the instant we saw its hastily-prepared web site published the night before Barnes & Noble's Nook launch, and it appears that our hunch was right: Spring Design just filed a trade secret lawsuit against B&N, alleging that their designers showed the Alex to the bookseller's execs before the Nook was developed. According to Spring Design, the two companies had been in contact with each other over ereader designs since the beginning of the year, with various executives exchanging calls, meetings and product details under NDA -- which would certainly explain why there are suddenly two Android-based ereaders on the market with dual electronic ink and capacitive LCD touchscreen displays. Definitely suspicious, but we'd also note that the Nook and Alex actually work quite differently: users browse the web on the Alex's touchscreen and then "print" the content they want to read to the electronic ink display, while the Nook doesn't have a browser and the touchscreen is only used for navigation, not content. We're digging for as much info as we can, and we'll hit you with more info as soon as we get it -- stay tuned.

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    Offline Betsy the Quilter

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    Re: Barnes & Noble sued over the Nook
    « Reply #1 on: November 02, 2009, 08:50:55 pm »
    Interesting!  Wasn't Amazon sued or something over at least part of the Kindle's setup?

    Never a dull moment in the ereader wars...

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    Offline mlewis78

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    Re: Barnes & Noble sued over the Nook
    « Reply #2 on: November 02, 2009, 10:42:00 pm »
    Looks pretty frivolous as a lawsuit to me.  They don't look alike and they work differently.
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    Offline Ann in Arlington

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    Re: Barnes & Noble sued over the Nook
    « Reply #3 on: November 03, 2009, 05:03:21 am »
    Frankly, the nook looks more like a Kindle to me.

    Really, it's kind of like Microsoft's current series of commercials where ordinary people are saying "I wanted an OS that would work this way/do this/run that" and now I have Windows 7.  That was MY idea."  'Cause both of the devices are basically Kindles with the ideas of thousands of Kindle user's grafted on.  It's called "innovation."  :D

    But it's good publicity for the nook -- the one that is actually for sale (well, as of the end of November; is there a timeline on when the other one will be released?)  And it's pretty certain the other company doesn't really want them to stop selling; they just want a piece of the pie.
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    Offline jason10mm

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    Re: Barnes & Noble sued over the Nook
    « Reply #4 on: November 03, 2009, 06:22:43 am »
    I dunno, if the touchscreen LCD part can be shown to have originated from this meeting, those guys might have a case. Though I don't think you can get much from merely introducing a CONCEPT, me saying that there should be a color touchscreen is a FAR step from getting it to work :P I think technical patent law is a bit different from something like movie script ideas as well.

    This is also the first I've heard that the nook CAN'T browse on that LCD screen. That is too bad, if it had a browser that worked like an iphone (or an android touchscreen phone), that would have been a HUGE advantage, though I suppose that would have driven up costs a bit.

    Offline Cuechick

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    Re: Barnes & Noble sued over the Nook
    « Reply #5 on: November 03, 2009, 06:24:01 am »
    I have to say that picture of the Nook makes it look really good. I would not be surprised if both Amazon and Sony are thinking about the idea of duel screens.
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    Offline Betsy the Quilter

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    Re: Barnes & Noble sued over the Nook
    « Reply #6 on: November 03, 2009, 06:32:29 am »
    I dunno, if the touchscreen LCD part can be shown to have originated from this meeting, those guys might have a case. Though I don't think you can get much from merely introducing a CONCEPT, me saying that there should be a color touchscreen is a FAR step from getting it to work :P I think technical patent law is a bit different from something like movie script ideas as well.

    This is also the first I've heard that the nook CAN'T browse on that LCD screen. That is too bad, if it had a browser that worked like an iphone (or an android touchscreen phone), that would have been a HUGE advantage, though I suppose that would have driven up costs a bit.

    And it's not like it's the first device to ever have a touchscreen.

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    Offline MamaProfCrash

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    Re: Barnes & Noble sued over the Nook
    « Reply #7 on: November 03, 2009, 07:19:51 am »
    I prefer the single screen. I would rather have more room for reading.

    Offline LisaW.

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    Re: Barnes & Noble sued over the Nook
    « Reply #8 on: November 03, 2009, 08:25:54 am »
    I prefer the single screen. I would rather have more room for reading.

    I agree. While the touch screen looks really nice, and I definitely would like skimming through my book covers to find what I'm looking for, I'd rather have the reading space. Also, can you turn the touchscreen off while you're reading? Sometimes I hold my kindle with both thumbs between the keyboard and the screen. I'd hate to be reading something and have the touch screen changing every time I accidentally brushed it with my finger.

    Offline JimC1946

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    Re: Barnes & Noble sued over the Nook
    « Reply #9 on: November 03, 2009, 09:37:03 am »
    Here's another article, this one from ZDNet;

    http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=26855&tag=nl.e539

    Offline DailyLunatic

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    Re: Barnes & Noble sued over the Nook
    « Reply #10 on: November 03, 2009, 09:45:41 am »
    I prefer the single screen. I would rather have more room for reading.

    But its not Touchscreen vs. Larger screen,  its Touchscreen vs. Keyboard.

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    Offline shutrbug

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    Re: Barnes & Noble sued over the Nook
    « Reply #11 on: November 03, 2009, 10:07:57 am »
    the key point is that B&N signed a nondisclosure agreement with Spring Design and somehow B&N ended up with an eReader that looks a lot like what Spring Design had been working on.  The courts will decide if B&N violated the terms of the NDA.  It's hard to tell who is right or wrong without knowing exactly the Ts and Cs of the NDA.
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    Offline happyblob

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    Re: Barnes & Noble sued over the Nook
    « Reply #12 on: November 03, 2009, 11:31:08 am »
    Suing aside, if I want to watch videos and stuff I buy a netbook. Not to mention current technology batteries are not up to the task.

    Offline mlewis78

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    Re: Barnes & Noble sued over the Nook
    « Reply #13 on: November 03, 2009, 01:03:39 pm »
    Why did the two parties even have a meeting to discuss their ideas?  Were they trying to set up B&N?  I can't imagine Amazon sitting down with B&N to show them what they are working on for their next kindle design.
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    Offline Ann in Arlington

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    Re: Barnes & Noble sued over the Nook
    « Reply #14 on: November 03, 2009, 01:09:23 pm »
    Of course, I don't really know anything, but it is possible that B&N met with a lot of different device providers to figure out which one would suit them the best.  Spring Design had one idea and a competing developer had a slightly different design which is the one they went with and became the nook.
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    Offline mlewis78

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    Re: Barnes & Noble sued over the Nook
    « Reply #15 on: November 03, 2009, 01:14:23 pm »
    I don't think the Nook looks that much like the other one.  It's only the idea of the color menu.  I think everyone got that idea from Apple Ipods.
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    Offline Cuechick

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    Re: Barnes & Noble sued over the Nook
    « Reply #16 on: November 03, 2009, 01:19:45 pm »
    I prefer the single screen. I would rather have more room for reading.

    I was assuming the reading screen was about the same size as on the kindle and the touch just
    took up the space of the K's keyboard? If not, then that is what I want. Someone please make that please.
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    Offline PaulGuy

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    Re: Barnes & Noble sued over the Nook
    « Reply #17 on: November 03, 2009, 05:05:36 pm »
    Looks pretty frivolous as a lawsuit to me.  They don't look alike and they work differently.
    Agreed, sadly with the current state of things they simply could be making a play for a settlement from B&N.

    Offline 911jason

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    Re: Barnes & Noble sued over the Nook
    « Reply #18 on: November 04, 2009, 12:20:33 am »
    PC Magazine article:

    Lawsuit Would Pull B&N Nook E-Reader From Market

    Quote
    The California-based company suing Barnes & Noble over its e-reader wants the court to stop the sale of the Nook, according to court documents made public Tuesday.

    Spring Design on Monday said it was suing Barnes & Noble for stealing its ideas and using them for its Nook e-reader. Spring Design introduced its Alex e-reader the day before the Nook made its debut.

    Barnes and Noble unveiled its e-book reader, the Nook, on October 20. The device, which will retail for $259, is expected to debut at the end of November. It has a color, touch-sensitive display for navigation, allows for wireless downloads via AT&T's 3G network or Wi-Fi, and runs a variation of the Android platform.

    According to court documents, Spring Design first presented their design for Alex to a Barnes & Noble consultant on February 17, 2009 five days after both sides signed a non-disclosure agreement. On March 20, Spring Design met with Ravi Gopalakrishnan, head of B&N software development, who allegedly told Spring executives that B&N wanted a product that would compete with the Kindle.

    In April and May, Spring Design met with other B&N executives, including William Lynch, president of B&N.com and Kevin Frain, B&N's CFO. Lynch and Frain were given a product demo and shown a PowerPoint presentation for an Android-based e-reader known as Alex.

    "Lynch warned Spring's Albert Teng that he should not consider Amazon as a content partner, because Amazon was likely to steal Spring's unique idea without ever buying anything from Spring," according to court documents.

    "Thanks for coming and showing us your innovative work," Lynch wrote in an e-mail after the meeting. "Kevin [Frain] owns these partnerships and I know he's excited to work with you. Looking forward."

    In July, B&N requested a summary of Spring's product development and on October 1, B&N had a meeting with Spring's CEO to discuss possible revenue sharing for Spring's Alex device in the university textbook market.

    B&N "made no mention during that meeting or any other meeting with Spring that it was actually in the process of developing a device with many of the product features contained in the Spring design," Spring said in its filing.

    On October 20, B&N announced the Nook, which "was a complete surprise to Spring." The features described by Lynch in an Oct. 21 media call about the Nook were all "disclosed to B&N by Spring under the terms of the NDA in anticipation of a potential business partnership between the parties," Spring wrote.

    The non-disclosure agreement does not "restrict the right of a party to create, procure, or market products or services which may be competitive with those offered by the other party," but those products cannot use "the confidential information of the other party for such purposes."

    "B&N unlawfully misappropriated and used Spring's confidential information and trade secrets to develop and sell a competing product, the Nook, for its own benefit," the filing said.

    Spring is accusing B&N of breaching the non-disclosure agreement, misappropriating trade secrets, and violating unfair competition laws. Spring wants the court to stop production of the Nook and award it damages.

    Barnes & Noble said it does not comment on litigation.

    Offline jason10mm

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    Re: Barnes & Noble sued over the Nook
    « Reply #19 on: November 04, 2009, 07:26:03 am »
    Ahh, so B&N just needs to demonstrate that the Nook was developed without information from the Alex, which is probably easy to do, assuming the Nook came from some other company and WASN'T developed with tech stolen from the Alex.

    This sounds like the Alex guys thought they were in the running and got totally scooped by whoever developed the Nook. Now they want some hush money from B&N.

    Offline shutrbug

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    Re: Barnes & Noble sued over the Nook
    « Reply #20 on: November 04, 2009, 08:27:28 am »
    Why did the two parties even have a meeting to discuss their ideas?  Were they trying to set up B&N?  I can't imagine Amazon sitting down with B&N to show them what they are working on for their next kindle design.
    B&N, like Amazon, don't have the technical ability to design and manufacture an eReader themselves.  They will go to an Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) such as Spring Design to design and possibly manufacture the hardware for them.  (Spring Design sounds like they are a design shop only and the manufacturer would likely be a partner in China.)  B&N would them brand the product and market it themselves.  What B&N will have to prove in court is that they didn't violate the terms of their NDA in OEMing the Nook from whoever the ODM is.
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    Offline kevindorsey

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    Re: Barnes & Noble sued over the Nook
    « Reply #21 on: November 04, 2009, 03:16:11 pm »
    They will settle this out.

    Offline 911jason

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    Re: Barnes & Noble sued over the Nook
    « Reply #22 on: November 04, 2009, 03:32:12 pm »
    I agree they will settle, if for no other reason than to prevent the judge from issuing an order to B&N to stop sales until the matter is resolved. They don't want to miss out on the holiday season.

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    Re: Barnes & Noble sued over the Nook
    « Reply #23 on: November 05, 2009, 07:40:55 am »
    Ahh, so B&N just needs to demonstrate that the Nook was developed without information from the Alex, which is probably easy to do, assuming the Nook came from some other company and WASN'T developed with tech stolen from the Alex.


    No, B&N needs to demonstrate that they negotiated with the company in good faith, which included disclosure of the fact that they were already in the process of designing their own proprietary device.  If B&N led them on and did not disclose that they were already in the process of developing the Nook, then they could be in trouble. 

    Intellectual Property law is complicated stuff, unfortunately. 

    Offline lmk2045

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    Spring Design seeks injunction barring Nook sales
    « Reply #24 on: November 06, 2009, 09:39:58 pm »
    Could a legal challenge threaten the launch of Barnes & Noble's Nook e-reader?

    In a new lawsuit, start-up Spring Design is seeking not only monetary damages from Barnes & Noble, but also is looking to get an injunction barring sales of the Nook, which it says misappropriates its trade secrets.

    Entire article:
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10389790-38.html


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