California Patent Attorney® Blog

Results tagged “Amazon” from California Patent Attorney® Blog

Lenovo, B&N, Other Tablet Makers Sued Over Double-Click Patent

October 29, 2012,

tablet_pc.jpgCalifornia - Lenovo Inc., Barnes & Noble Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and other makers of tablet products were hit with new infringement allegations on Friday at the hands of Hopewell Culture & Design LLC, which accuses the tablet makers of misappropriating its patented technology for double-clicking an interactive display.

Hopewell filed a battery of new infringement lawsuits in Texas federal court against Lenovo, B&N, Amazon, Coby Electronics Corp., Viewsonic Corp. and Vizio Inc. all asserting violations of its rights in U.S. Patent Number 7,171,625.

The '625 patent, entitled "Double-Clicking a Point-and-Click Interface Apparatus to Enable a New Interaction with Content Represented by an Active Visual Display Element," was issued in January 2007. The claimed invention can be used to enable interaction with any type of content, such as a still image, video, audio, text or a graphical display, and the interactions can include any manner of making use of data representing the content, according to the patent description.

The tablet makers are making and selling infringing mobile devices including B&N's Nook, Amazon's Kindle, Lenovo's ThinkPad andIdea Pad, Coby's Kyros, Viewsonic's ViewBook and Viewpad and Vizio's VTAB1008, according to the complaints.

The accused devices all allegedly infringe the patent by having software allowing a user to double click or double tap a visual element representing interactive content and interact with a second version of the interactive content.

Hopewell is seeking a declaration of infringement, damages and injunctions with respect to all of the alleged infringers.

The '625 patent claims a broad range of double-clicking capabilities and functionality, covering computers, televisions and any other devices that make use of a point-and-click apparatus for user interaction.

"Double-clicking a point-and-click computer user interface apparatus can also be used to effect user input to a computer program," the patent description says. "However, double-clicking has not been used to effect user input to a Web browser that uniquely corresponds to the double-click input."

"Once users have become acclimated to the use of a double-click input to produce or enable functionality in accordance with the invention, the invention can provide an intuitive and easy way to access such functionality," the description says.

M-Edge Slaps Amazon With Patent Infringement Lawsuit

January 9, 2012,

amazon.jpgCalifornia - M-Edge Accessories filed a lawsuit against Amazon for infringing on its patents for Kindle case designs by copying case designs and colors. M-Edge also alleges that Amazon engaged in unfair tactics, false advertising, intentional interference with contracts, and fraud.

The Kindle e-reader device has revolutionized the online reading experience, bringing Amazon increased revenues from e-book purchases, hardware, and related goods. M-Edge, a company well known to any Kindle-user, provides stylish jackets and cases to suit every Kindle model. In October of 2008, M-edge began to sell the Kindle jackets and paid Amazon an 8% commission. The brand proved popular with customers, who liked the array of modern designs. In February 2009, Amazon and M-Edge entered into a "Kindle Compatible" agreement, allowing M-Edge products to be featured in the Kindle Store in return for a 15% commission to Amazon. As one of Amazon's "special partners" M-Edge seemed poised to benefit from the relationship. In the beginning, the match seemed like a good fit.

The relationship began to sour in May 2009, when Amazon asked M-Edge for direct sale of its products, and M-Edge refused, citing poor terms as its reason. In January 2010, Amazon asked M-Edge to pay a 32% commission. M-Edge refused and Amazon responded by threatening to delist the company's products. In February 2010, Amazon charged M-Edge $600,000 for back payments at the 32% rate. M-Edge refused to pay Amazon. In April 2010, Amazon made a second request for a direct sales agreement. M-Edge refused to sign it because it lacked a guaranteed minimum volume.

In May 2010, Amazon requested a 25% retroactively applied fee agreement. If M-Edge didn't comply, Amazon threatened to delist M-Edge's products and to restructure its product changes so users would not be able to find M-Edge products. Amazon also threatened to restrict pre-launch access to its Kindle 3, which would prevent M-Edge from designing jackets for the launch. In July 2010, M-Edge agreed to Amazon's demands because it relied on Amazon for 90% of its sales. The same month Amazon only allowed M-Edge a day of pre-release Kindle 3 access. Then, in January 2011, Amazon demanded that M-Edge pay $150,000 for an Amazon executive salary, and requested a larger share of M-Edge sales. By March, Amazon had withheld $2 million in M-Edge payments because M-Edge did not agree to the January terms. That July, Amazon asked for a 34% commission. The following month, Amazon charged M-Edge fees for products not showing an Amazon logo. M-Edge refused to pay, stating that it had never developed the products in question. In September, Amazon excluded M-Edge from the "Amazon Approved Accessory Vendor" list, causing customers to reject M-Edge. Then Amazon demanded $953,000 in back payments. M-Edge argued that it only owed $40,000. In November, Amazon terminated the 2009 agreement with M-Edge due to "repeated failure to perform its obligations under the Agreement."

M-Edge filed suit this month with claims backed by business documents, e-mails and contracts. M-Edge seeks damages for patent-infringement and an injunction requiring Amazon to remove infringing Kindle jackets from the marketplace.

Granted Amazon Patent that Predicts Your Movements Has Marketing Purposes

December 15, 2011,

escalator.jpgCalifornia - Amazon was recently granted a patent that allows them not only to track where users have recently been but predict where they may go in the future. The system analyzes the past and current locations of the user, and based on this information, it predicts a likely next destination of the user.

Next, it communicates this next likely destination to marketers who then can relay advertising content to the user whether via their mobile device or flashing billboards. The ads that appear will be based on the demographics of the user. To ensure maximum visibility, the ads will also take into account the speed and mode of travel of the user so advertising appears at the expected time the user reaches a given marketing point. For example, if you are a middle-aged parent walking in a mall and you have already passed by one portion of a mall, ads might start popping up on your phone for stores that sell children's clothing or home goods that you have yet to pass. Information of where the user comes from and is likely to go next could be stored in a database and better predict where others may go in the future for more targeted marketing.

While Amazon's purpose is to better target ads and coupons to the user, at what point does infringing on a person's right to privacy become worth the savings of a coupon? Amazon has yet to release information that allows users to block this information or even more specifically, block ads from companies and stores they wish not to patronage.

Further, another major cause of concern for users is the vulnerability of this information being accessed from individuals who would wish to cause harm to the user. With the continually increase in data theft and phone hacking, criminals or stalkers could gain access to this sensitive marketing data and hone in on a victim's future location. Amazon will have to invest in highly sophisticated encrypting software to protect the integrity of the information and calm user's concerns.

Two New Patent Applications: Fingerprint-less Screens and Airbag-equipped Cell Phones

August 29, 2011,

touchscreen.jpgCalifornia - Patent application 20110195187 describes an invention entitled "Direct Liquid Vaporization for Oleophobic Coatings." While the title of the invention has little hope of becoming a household name, it's likely that Apple's new fingerprint-less screens will make their way into millions of households. According to Patently Apple, the application filed February of this year describes a method of applying an 'oleophobic' substance to the screen of any Apple iOS device during manufacturing. This process would create a fingerprint resistant coat on the screen of the device capable of repelling the oil and particles from our hands that create cosmetically unfavorable and visually obstructive smudges. The invention would certainly create a captivating marketing platform for Apple, but larger implications arise concerning how competitors will work around the patent to maintain the viability of their products within what some are calling a 'patent war.' Apple will have a have new weapon if they control the licensing of a process that renders fingerprints a thing of the past.

Patent application 20110194230 comes to us from the mind of Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, who has created a method of protecting cell phones from impact damage by equipping them with airbags. The application filed February of 2010, made public earlier this month, details a system in which the phone detects a sudden increase in acceleration when the phone is accidentally dropped by its user and deploys airbags to prevent a damaging impact with the ground. It's difficult not to snicker at the thought of airbag-deploying cell phone, but the application also suggests substituting the airbags with springs or gas propulsion, and if they are able to find an effective method, the precautionary equipment would prove to be valuable to many fumbling consumers who spend hundreds of dollars annually on replacement phones. However, the money saved will likely be applied to increased price of cell phones containing this preventative technology. It will be interesting to see whether airbags become the industry standard or simply a short-lived novelty item.