The Amazon Kindle Fire tablet has yet to hit store shelves, yet it is already the subject of a patent suit filed by Smartphone Technologies. The company alleges that the Fire is in violation of 4 different patents.
Smartphone Technologies is a subsidiary of Acacia Research, which is known in the industry as a patent troll thanks to its long history of litigation against major tech firms like RIM and Apple. Amazon.com, on the other hand, is an American e-commerce company based in Seattle, Washington, with operations worldwide. Amazon is the world’s biggest online retailer, offering a range of products for sale such as books, DVDs, video games, toys, apparel and more.
The four patents that the Fire is accused of violating cover a number of basic features which are shared by most tablets and smartphones on the market today. For example, one of the patents covers a method by which a touch screen can be used to enter commands on a mobile device. Specifically, this refers to U.S. Patent No. 6,956,562. One of the other patents covers a method for calendar storage on a mobile device.
The patent lawsuit from Smartphone Technologies was filed just two week after Amazon introduced the Fire tablet, which is intended to be a low priced tablet option. It is slated to hit the store shelves priced at $199 this November. It’s interesting to note that the patent in the lawsuit relating to the calendar storage method dates back almost ten years and has never been challenged in court before.
This patent was initially granted to Palm back in 2002, while another patent in the suit targets the “Kindle 3G + WiFi” mobile device itself. Acacia has been unsuccessful in some of its previous patent trolling attempts, which include a loss back in 2007 against Red Hat and Novell. Acacia’s stock price dropped over 35% following the result of that patent suit.