Discovery: Not your usual patent troll

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Discovery: Not your usual patent troll

Tue Mar 17, 2009 @ 05:45PM PST

By Eriq Gardner


Kindle-2-carrie We weren't surprised to see the press release announcing that Amazon has been served with a patent lawsuit over its popular e-book Kindle device. 

Anyone who followed the saga over the Blackberry, including a major lawsuit that resulted in a $612.5 million settlement and cries for the need of patent reform, could see the writing on the Kindle that such a technical accomplishment would foreshadow the legal turn.

But whoever guessed that the plaintiff would be Discovery Communications, producers of "Trading Spaces," "Orangutan Island," and owner of many of the world's most popular non-fiction cable stations, should e-mail us immediately with tips on filling out our NCAA Tournament bracket.

To repeat, this lawsuit hasn't been filed by the typical patent troll; rather it's one of the largest media companies in the world, with entertainment brands in 170 countries. The firm is also being represented by the Morrison & Foerster firm, which has a strong reputation for patent work in technology.

In the press release, Discovery general counsel Joseph LaSala, Jr. issued this statement: "The Kindle and Kindle 2 are important and popular content delivery systems. We believe they infringe our intellectual property rights, and that we are entitled to fair compensation. Legal action is not something Discovery takes lightly.

We've begun to to look at the actual complaint. Frankly, it looks a little strange to us. A few pages with the bare basics about the allegations followed by nearly 100 pages of exhibits, including diagrams, technological specs, and the copy-and-paste patent application for an Electronic Book Security and Copyright Protection System.

We'd really love a table of contents for this complaint, or at least, a better digital version that tells us what we're looking at. Pretty please? Maybe something that will display on our Kindle?

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The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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