Discovery says it thought of the Kindle first, wants royalites

Discovery Communications, best known for its Discovery Channel cable network and related retail stores, is also the holder of a rather comprehensive e-book patent filed nearly ten years ago. The company has taken legal action against Amazon.com for infringing upon that patent with its popular Kindle e-reading device.

The patent (#7,298,851) was granted in November 2007 to Discovery founder John S. Hendricks, and includes everything from the content delivery method (both through the Internet and through a connection to Cox cable box for video) all the way down to the operating system of the reading device (Menus include virtual shelves labeled "books in your library," and "books you can order.") Page 26 of the patent also includes a method of printing books on demand.

In the suit, Discovery says that the Kindle, Kindle 2, and Amazon.com itself are all infringing upon its patent.

Instead of seeking an injunction on the Kindle, Discovery wants to receive damages and royalties "sufficient to compensate Discovery for any future infringement of the '851 patent."

A statement from Discovery this morning said, "Legal action is not something Discovery takes lightly. Our tradition as an inventive company has produced considerable intellectual property assets for our shareholders, and today's infringement litigation is part of our effort to protect and defend those assets."

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