November 12 – November 19, 2009 Edition

Lawsuit Could Delay B&N Nook Release

NEW YORK, NY (AUTHORLINK NES, November 12, 2009)–A U.S. District Court has given Barnes & Noble until the day after Thanksgiving to respond to a lawsuit filed November 2 by Spring Design, Inc. The suit charges that Barnes & Noble, which had been under a non-disclosure agreement with Spring since last February, stole Spring’s design for its Alex e-reader, instead teaming up with Plastic Logic. Barnes & Noble apparently received the Court summons November 6, which would make the response date November 26.

According to a Google Android blog,, Spring is seeking an injunction prohibiting B&N from further use or disclosure of trade secrets and from the sale of the Nook and/or any other products using Spring’s trade secrets. If such a court order is granted, Barnes & Noble may need to delay the debut of its Android-based Nook e-reader until after the lucrative holiday season. B&N also could face heavy legal fees and payment of damages, if found guilty in a trial.

Spring alleges it revealed concepts for the Alex e-reader in a PowerPoint presentation and Phil Baker said that he had never seen such an advanced electronic reader design. In July 2009, a B&N employee requested a summary of Spring’s development and claimed she was "looking forward to working more." Spring sent over a list of specs and features, most of which ended up appearing in the Nook. They also demonstrated the Alex, showing ideas for: an Android-based dual-screen e-reader with electronic paper display (EPD) for reader and an LCD screen for navigation, and a "sharing" feature that connects users who want to "share your virtual bookshelf or library."

Both of these are major features of the Nook.

Barnes & Noble originally planned to release its Nook e-reader in November, but this week the company suggested that large "demand" for the new device would push back the shipping date for some pre-orders into the second week of December.

B&N is not commenting on the lawsuit.

Spring Design first developed and began filing patents on its Alex e-book, an innovative dual screen, Android-based e-book back in 2006. Since the beginning of 2009 Spring and Barnes & Noble worked within a non-disclosure agreement, including many meetings, emails and conference calls with executives ranging up to the president of Barnes and, discussing confidential information regarding the features, functionality and capabilities of Alex. Throughout, Barnes & Noble’s marketing and technical executives extolled Alex’s "innovative" features, never mentioning their use of those features until the public disclosure of the Nook.

Alex, with its unique Duet Navigator™, provides the capability for interaction and navigation techniques of the two screens and furthermore utilizes the capabilities of Android to enhance the reader’s experience by supporting interactive access to the Internet for references and links. As the first in the market to offer an e-book with full Internet browsing while reading and with easy navigational control via its touch screen, Alex is well-positioned to offer the most dynamic and powerful reading device in the market.

About Spring Design:

Spring Design, founded in 2006, delivers innovative e-reader solutions and products to the e-book market, offering overall "Link Notes", a content authoring and multi-media publishing tool as add on editions to original text. Spring Design is located in Cupertino, California with engineering offices in Taiwan and China. Spring Design pioneered its patent-pending dual screen design with Duet Navigator™ capability in 2006, and has been working with major book stores, newspapers and publishers over the last two years, sharing the vision and the capabilities of the dual screen device. Spring Design’s innovative patented technologies incorporate the seamless interaction of dual display and multi-online access in a single device, benefiting and leveraging the technology and resources of the Web to enhance the reading experience with open Internet access.

Read the Court document from Andronica’s Scribd account.