Barnes & Noble Sued Over E-Book Reader

Nook Alex

Barnes & Noble’s new e-book reader hasn’t shipped but it has already garnered a lawsuit.

Spring Design, a Cupertino, Calif.-based company, has an e-book reader concept called the Alex, with patents dating back to 2006, and has been shopping it around for a launch partner.

Spring says it met with Barnes & Noble under NDA contracts in spring of 2009. Spring alleges these meeting resulted in Barnes & Noble “misappropriating trade secrets and violating non-disclosure agreements.”  Like the Nook, Spring’s device uses a dual-screen to display content.

Spring Design quickly announced Alex prior to Barnes & Noble’s launch of Nook. Engadget smartly guessed Spring was to laying the foundations of an intellectual property claim.

Barnes and Noble will complicate the matter by partnering with another device maker, Plastic Logic, to sell the yet to be revealed Que, an e-book reader for mobile professionals, side by side with the Nook.

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