The battle for the future of the e-Reader market may have just taken a dramatic shift. A recent patent granted to Amazon will give them the patent rights to create e-readers similar to the original Kindle, which featured two parts – one area for the text, and the other for a scrollable wheel. More importantly though, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, also features an e-ink display, and a smaller LCD which could be a violation of the patent.
The actual patent reads:
A handheld electronic book reader device is equipped with dual displays. The device includes a first display for presenting visible representations of textual or graphic content related to the electronic book. The device also includes a second display positioned alongside the first display. The second display includes a plurality of graphic elements that correspond to portions of the first display. Also, the second display is responsive to user input to one of the graphic elements to perform an action on the content that is shown in the portion of the first display that corresponds to the one element.
It is a fairly broad patent that covers several possible applications, including the Nook’s current design. No word on whether or not Amazon will purse the Nook legally, but the patent ruling gives them the option, and a costly legal battle would likely ensue.
The website Go Rumors was the first to break the story, which might seem odd with two such huge companies involved and such potentially massive repercussions from the patent, but Amazon was careful with its filing; it agreed to not file corresponding foreign-patents- that require up to a four year wait- which means that it was not required to publish the patent application. In other words, no one saw this coming.
This story is just getting going. Even if Amazon magnanimously decides not to go after their bitter rival’s competing e-Reader, it could hamper any future development for Barnes & Noble’s e-Readers. If that happens, or if Amazon attempts to stop the Nook, expect some serious lawsuits. More on this as it develops.