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Barnes and Noble Nook uses copyrighted technology, company says

Spring Design alleges that Barnes and Noble stole proprietary dual-screen technology for its Nook e-reader.

By Matthew Shaer / November 3, 2009



When it was released in October, tech journalists went wild for the Barnes and Noble Nook, an e-reader billed as an Amazon Kindle killer. Among the most interesting features on the Nook was a 3.5-inch multi-touch color display, which seemed to best the comparatively limited touch-pad on the Kindle.

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Now, a company has filed suit in California court, alleging that Barnes and Noble incorporated the dual-screen design into the Nook without notifying its creators. According to Spring Design, a maker of electronic readers, Barnes and Noble was originally interested in a potential partnership.

Instead, the bookseller unveiled the Nook – which does bear a resemblance to Spring Design's Alex e-reader – without notifying Spring Design.

"We showed the Alex e-book design to Barnes & Noble in good faith with the intention of working together to provide a superior dual screen e-book to the market," Eric Kmiec, Spring Design's vice president of sales and marketing, said in a statement.

CNET reports that Spring Design is seeking monetary damages from Barnes and Noble, and also an injunction, which would bar future sales of the Nook. Thus far, Barnes and Noble has declined to comment.

The Nook, which will be priced at $259, is now available for pre-order.

“Barnes & Noble’s new Nook e-reader is the e-reader that competitors must now beat,” David Coursey of PC World wrote recently. “So long Kindle 2, it was nice knowing you, but a better reader has come along. And just in time for the holidays, too. If Amazon doesn’t have a new model up its sleeve, it will be a Merry Christmas at B&N and a sack of coal for Amazon.”

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