Thursday, July 08, 2010

Amazon Patent Comes Out of Woodwork

Engadget scored a significant scoop in its exclusive article on Amazon’s patent on e-readers with secondary LCD displays. Apparently the patent was filed some 4 years ago for US only rights and so wasn't required to publish the patent application. The one refernce picked out by engadget refers to a two screen device.

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.

Whether Amazon takes legal actions against others is uncertain and the obvious targets are the Nook and the Alex readers from Barnes and Noble and Spring Design. More interesting is that this effectively would kill off any thoughts anyone may have to create a dual screen reader , what its impact is on any clamshell tablets such as the KNO tablet and whether it will impact mobile developments in the future.

It is hard to believe that the Amazon patent can’t be challenged, that it was granted long after these devices can to market, that no challenge was made by Amazon given that they had a patent pending and finally that it only applies to a single region. It would suggest that Amazon’s application was speculative and will simply slip away but we may be wrong.

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