That Didn't Take Long: Amazon Sued For Patent Infringement For New Kindle Fire Tablet

from the up-in-flames dept

The general rule continues to prove itself true: do anything interesting in the tech world, and you will get sued for patent infringement. Just weeks after Amazon announced its new Kindle Fire tablet, the company has been sued for patent infringement by well-known patent troll Smartphone Technologies, a subsidiary of patent trolling giant Acacia. Just a few months ago we noted that Smartphone Technologies/Acacia was buying up more smartphone related patents, as it looks to seriously cash in on anyone actually doing anything in the space.

The patents in question:

  • 6,956,562: Method for controlling a handheld computer by entering commands onto a displayed feature of the handheld computer (originally a PalmSource patent)
  • 6,466,236: System and method for displaying and manipulating multiple calendars on a personal digital assistant (originally a Palm Inc. patent)
  • 6,950,645: Power-conserving intuitive device discovery technique in a bluetooth environment (originally a PalmSource patent)
  • 7,506,064: Handheld computer system that attempts to establish an alternative network link upon failing to establish a requested network link (another PalmSource patent).
  • RE40,459: Method and apparatus for communicating information over low bandwidth communications networks (and, yet again, PalmSource)

So Palm may be dead and buried inside HP… but at least we know its patent legacy lives on in making products people want more expensive and less able to come to market.

Filed Under: , ,
Companies: acacia, amazon, palm, smartphone technologies

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Comments on “That Didn't Take Long: Amazon Sued For Patent Infringement For New Kindle Fire Tablet”

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25 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Come on, Mike, everyone knows that Amazon looked at a bunch of patents before developing the Kindle Fire and they said, “Gee, this patent is a good idea. I’ll develop it and hope I don’t get sued!” If it weren’t for patents, the Kindle Fire would have never been developed. They copied the idea, plain and simple.

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Re: Mebbe

Ya know, maybe we’ve been going about the whole ‘patent licensing’ thing in the wrong direction.

The guys who get patents on vague word clouds which completely lack any potential of anybody being able to make something from such a patent should be paying those rare few geniuses who can take that jumble of nonsense–a vaguely worded patent–a turn it into a real world product.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: How?!?!?!

“The Patent office must be populated with technological imbeciles.”

Correct. The patent office is full of lawyers pretending to be technologists. The crucial phrase they use is “PHOSITA” — person having ordinary skill in the art. Notice the word “ordinary”, not “high” or “exceptional”.

So, when a lawyer is examining a patent application, they consider themselves as having ordinary skill, hence they see no need to call in an external expert. Then they grant the patent because that avoids them getting monstered by the big nasty lawyers who are running the patent office. Result: a huge pile of junk patents which should never have been granted.

This process is inevitable. The answer is either to abolish the patent system or at least de-fang it by removing the monopolies. The monopolies are what is delivering the paydays to the trolls.

Willton says:

Re: Re: How?!?!?!

Correct. The patent office is full of lawyers pretending to be technologists. The crucial phrase they use is “PHOSITA” — person having ordinary skill in the art. Notice the word “ordinary”, not “high” or “exceptional”.

So, when a lawyer is examining a patent application, they consider themselves as having ordinary skill, hence they see no need to call in an external expert. Then they grant the patent because that avoids them getting monstered by the big nasty lawyers who are running the patent office. Result: a huge pile of junk patents which should never have been granted.

Have you ever been the Patent Office? Have you met any of their examiners? Something tells me that if you had, you would not say something so head-slappingly ignorant.

Dave Miller (profile) says:

Bluetooth?

The Kindle Fire doesn’t support bluetooth. That’s one of it’s documented downsides. It also doesn’t support “low bandwitdh” networks, it’s wifi only. And, given that it’s wifi only, I’m not even sure where they’re going with the whole network failover concept, unless they mean failing over from one wifi network to another.

Overall, fishing in entirely the wrong lake.

Willton says:

What, no one cares about the claims?

I find it interesting that the commentariat here is ripping the patents listed above based on their titles, yet no one appears to have actually looked at the claims of the patents. You guys do realize that the title of a patent is merely a title, right? Ever heard the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: What, no one cares about the claims?

OK – I read the calendar one.
Some simple flow charts, a couple simple GUI pictures and an Entity Relationship diagram (kinda). Oh, and some needlessly opaque text. Ask any reasonably competent designer to come up with an approach to switching between two sets of ANY kind of data and it would look much like this (I’d skip the text). Actually looking at the patents just makes the whole thing worse.

patent litigation (user link) says:

anti-competition

“…do anything interesting in the tech world, and you will get sued for patent infringement.” Very true, apparently. Of course, IP owners are legally entitled to enforce their intellectual property; after a while, however, it starts to become annoying to see the extent to which many companies use patent litigation as an anti-competitive tool to wield against their rivals, rather than settling such disputes in the marketplace, where they belong.

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