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The Nook is off to a rough start. Spring Design has sued Barnes & Noble over what it alleges are the misappropriation of trade secrets and the violation of a non-disclosure agreement. Spring Design is claiming that pirated design features from its dual-screen Alex eReader, incorporating them in to Barnes & Noble’s Nook eReader.
The point of contention for Spring Design is something it calls the Duet Navigator. This design feature consists of a gray-scale upper screen for reading text, and a lower color screen for navigation. Interestingly, the Nook possesses the same basic design feature. Spring Design says it started filing patents on the Alex back in 2006. (The patent on the Duet Navigator is still pending.) Barnes & Noble apparently co-opted the ideas while working with Spring Design earlier this year.
Darren Murph, over at Engadget, made the early call on this: “Judging by the hastily prepared web site coincidentally appearing on the eve of the B&N device launch, and the domain’s registrar, Albert Teng, who has numerous patent applications (not patents granted) covering ‘electronic devices having complementary dual-displays,’ we’d say this announcement is quite possibly a desperate attempt to lay claim on intellectual property rights instead of a real product with real manufacturers and real content partners.”
Image Credit: Spring Design, Barnes & Noble