images.jpegAmazon has been granted a 2006 patent on a device which has a dual screen LCD/electronic ink display. The relevant part of the patent is as follows:

A handheld electronic device comprising: a housing; an electronic paper display disposed in the housing and having a first surface area; and a liquid crystal display (LCD) disposed in the housing proximate the electronic paper display, the LCD having a second surface area that is smaller than the first surface area of the electronic paper display.

This certainly looks as if it would cover both the Nook and the Spring Design units. It would no cover the Entourage Edge, however, as that unit’s dual screens are in different housings and are the same size. We’ll have to wait and see if Amazon takes any action against the two possible infringers.

Via Engadget.


  1. It will be interesting to see how Amazon decides to use this patent against Barnes and Noble. Seems highly likely they will take some type of action, at the very least imposing licensing rights fees. It seems very much like the Nook falls under the scope of this patent. In fact, while reading the patent text, I was imagining that if someone was trying to describe the Nook to me in the most technical manner possible, this is what it would sound like. And yes, I would find it darn funny if Nook and Alex are forced to license the design from Amazon. ; )

  2. Am still wondering how, when Amazon was able to keep it under wraps, because of complying with some rule, it would then be a problem if another company not only conceived of the idea but also implemented it before Amazon’s patent was approved and at all visible.

    Was there a way for B&N or Alex-makers to even see the proposed patent during those 4 years? Supposedly, it was kept secret. So, how could it be violated if it wasn’t approved yet or visible to other companies until way after they had made theirs and started selling them?

    (Obviously I don’t know anything about the law here.)

  3. Reading the actual patent makes it clear they patented the Kindle 1 and its side-mounted lcd display. No more, no less. Its a very precise and specific for the product they designed and sold, not an overly broad IP grab. Just due diligence and good business practice.

    That said, patent violations require no intent and innocent ignorance is not a defense; either a product infringes on an a valid patent or it doesn’t. And since Kindle 1 predates Nook (the patent is even older; it was submitted in 2006) B&N designers and IP officers knew it existed. If they chose to ignore its features or decided their design was different enough is something for them to defend if and when…

    Whether bottom-mounted LCD panels infringe on the K1 patent is something for lawyers to debate (and make money off) but *only* if Amazon actually sues. And that is doubtful.

    As is, the B&N panel adds cost to NOOK without offering much in the way of added value so why should Amazon want to *force* B&N to drop it?

    Not much here, folks.

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