Wednesday, November 4, 2009
In the overcrowded market for e-Book readers, the second-largest book-seller in the world after Amazon, Barnes and Noble, has been sued for violating NDAs and misappropriating trade secrets by Spring Design. Spring Design launched its Alex e-book reader on Oct 18th, and B&N followed suit with its Nook e-book reader, both based on Google's Android OS.
Spring Design filed for patents in 2006, and says that it began talks with B&N in early 2009, and disclosed innovative features of their reader under non-disclosure agreements. Apparently, nothing came of these talks, and B&N introduced the "Nook" less than a month later, with similar dual scree features.
If the allegation is proved, B&N have quite a bit to answer for, and this will draw them into a legal fight when what is important is to concentrate on growing the e-book market.
This case highlights the importance of protecting one's trade secrets and insisting on NDAs -- if Spring Design did not have the signed NDAs, they would not have had the chance of a snowflake in Hell of extracting damages or winning a suit.