Discovery Communications has sued Amazon.com in a Delaware federal court, charging that Amazon’s Kindle infringes a patent that Discovery holds for an “Electronic Book Security and Copyright Protection System.” Amazon’s electronic book reader has already drawn criticism from publishers who think it is designed to cheat them out of royalties, but this appears to be the first lawsuit filed over the Kindle device.
Discovery Communications said the company and founder/Chairman John S. Hendricks “were significant players in the development of digital content and delivery services in the 1990s,” noting that “Hendricks’ work included inventions of a secure, encrypted system for the selection, transmission, and sale of electronic books.” That led to the patent that Discovery says it is owed for – both damages for past infringement and future royalties.
There was no immediate comment on the suit by Amazon.
“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,” said Joseph A. LaSala, Jr., General Counsel of Discovery Communications.