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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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September 2016
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Amazon Kindle vs Acacia: Patent Troll Tries Again

By now Kindle users have become familiar with the idea of sponsored screen savers on their eReaders when the devices are on standby.  They are generally unobtrusive, don’t get in the way of the reading experience, and can even offer some decent deals from time to time when you get lucky.  Not many people argue against them anymore, especially since Amazon now allows users to pay the price difference between a Kindle with ads and a Kindle without ads to have the whole mechanism disabled entirely.  Unfortunately, the idle screen’s ads have opened Amazon up to a claim of patent infringement from one of the biggest “Patent Trolls” in operation.

The company making the accusation, Network Presentations Solutions, is a shell company operated by Acacia Research Group.  Acacia Research Group, as some might remember from last October, has taken on Amazon before with regard to Kindle devices.  Last time it was a variety of issues regarding the Kindle Fire.  This time around, they have acquired the rights to a patent for any personal computing device that shows ads on a screen after a certain designated period of idling.  Naturally this would include all recent Kindle offerings, in addition to other companies such as Kobo that have followed in Amazon’s footsteps, one would think.

What are they hoping to accomplish with this suit?  The requested ruling would require Amazon to pay a substantial penalty, recall and destroy every Kindle device ever sold with the Special Offers screen savers, issue a copy of the court ruling along with an admission of wrongdoing to everybody who has ever owned a Kindle, and generally appear contrite and humbled.  More realistically, Acacia is hoping for a substantial payday when Amazon settles to avoid the potentially huge ramifications of losing.  Patent Trolls are not held in particularly high regard at the moment, but that doesn’t mean they always lose in court.  Amazon isn’t exactly the most beloved company around at the moment either, after all.

While there seems to have been no word as to what, if any, progress has been made on the last Acacia vs Amazon lawsuit, it is a fair assumption that Amazon is not in the habit of quietly accepting this sort of thing.  They have placed a great deal of faith in the Kindle line, both eReader and Tablet offerings, and such vaguely applicable patents have questionable standing when held up to scrutiny.  Remember that a software patent holder needs to be able to prove that its patent involves a non-obvious solution to a problem.  It is hard to say whether or not advertisements in place of screen savers would really qualify in the eyes of the court.

Chances are good that this is not the last time we’ll be seeing Amazon hit with patent litigation.  Patent Trolling is huge money and there is a lot of profit to be made in anything somebody can make stick to the Kindle.  With the next generation of Kindle Fire just around the corner and the possibility of a Kindle Phone being whispered about in vague rumors about the distant future, Amazon is just going to be even more open to these things.  Hopefully the added expense of an occasional settlement or legal dispute won’t be enough to scare them off of ongoing hardware development.

Amazon files Patents For In-Book Advertisements

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Amazon has applied for two patents: On-Demand Generating E-Book Content With Advertising and Incorporating Advertising In On-Demand Generated Content.  Essentially, the patents are for adding content-generated ads to Kindle products, in a manner similar to Google’s AdSense program.

The patents specify a number of hypothetical advertising practices that seem like many readers’ worst fears.  One example:  “If a restaurant is described on page 12… [then] page 11 or page 13, may include advertisements about restaurants, wine, food, etc., which are related to restaurants and dining.”   In addition to full page ads, the patents also describe adding ads to the margins of a book and fitting in extra ads if the book has larger margins.

It’s interesting to imagine what long-term goals of Amazon this may reveal.  Since the Kindle and the books read on it are already purchased up front, I can’t imagine very many consumers would be happy about ads.  It seems unlikely that ads will be added anytime soon, as Amazon is already getting bad press for this and wouldn’t want to lose its customer base.

One possibility, actually mentioned in the first patent, is for Amazon to create some sort of two tiered bookstore in the future.  In addition to the current, ad-free books, Amazon could start offering discounted, or even free books that rely on advertising revenue.  Another thing to consider is the use in newspapers and periodicals.  Papers are already primarily ad-supported anyway; Amazon could be hoping to license their ad service as news makes the transition away from traditional print media.  Any paper being published to an eReader format could mostly shop between Amazon,  Google, and others to choose an advertising provider.

Another possibility is that these patents are defensive move meant to keep Google with their successful ad-based revenue model out of digital books while Amazon itself has no immediate intention of putting ads into books.

Amazon sues Discovery Communications Back

Roughly two months after Amazon was sued by Discovery Communications for patent infringement related to Kindle Amazon is suing Discovery Communications back also for patent infringement. In this case patents in question are related to “search engine and recommendataion technology” used on Discovery’s e-commerce website.

My guess is that legally both comanies are in the wrong but not because they are criminal but because current US patent system is not appropriate for modern intellectual property. Things like double-click get patented left and right. For the most part it’s done to protect against patent predators. So when somebody sues you over a bougus patent you are likely to find some other patent to sue them back for. Usually it ends up with undisclosed out-of-court settlement.

Most likely this will be the case here are well. We’ll see.

Original story can be found at Wall Street Journal.

Discovery Communications Sues Amazon For Patent Infringement In Kindle

According to www.broadcastingcable.com Discovery Comminications is filing a law suit against Amazon for patent infringement related to “secure, encrypted system for the selection, transmission, and sale of electronic books” (used in Amazon Kindle and Kindle 2). The patent in question was issued on November, 20 2007 – one day after Kindle US launch. Currently Amazon declined any comments.

Looks like more and more people realize that there is money in eBooks and market is growing day-by-day. Now suddenly everyone wants a piece of this pie. Just recently Authors Guild threatened to sue Amazon over text-to-speech feature in Kindle 2. Then it was Amazon sending “cease and desist” letters to MobileRead.com and possibly other websites about script that allowed books purchased from eBooks vendors other than Amazon to be read on Kindle.

As the market will grow more I’m sure we’ll see more turf wars like this one. As for patents… nowadays for any given thing you can find someone who holds a patent and “believes that he/she is entitled for compensation“…