The Kindle Fire isn’t even due to ship to consumers for another month, but already it has attracted its first patent suit. Smartphone Technologies LLC, which as far as we can tell doesn’t actually make anything, has sued Amazon for infringing on four of its patents. These patents seem to describe operating a touchscreen device by tapping on icons; apparently that’s a real patent.
Smartphone Technologies LLC is owned by Acacia Research, a publicly traded company that collects and licenses patents. The popular term for this type of business is “patent troll”. Some of the other patents Smartphone Technologies is suing over involve the use of multiple calendars on a device. Acacia adds that the eInk Kindle also infringes some of its patents, ans is also part of the case.
Amazon is expected to sell millions of Fires, so even a small licensing fee would be a huge payday for Acacia. Similar cases against Apple and others have thus far not resulted in a settlement. We expect Amazon to keep this is the courts for the time being as well.