Discovery Communications Sues Amazon Over Kindle

Discovery Communications is suing e-retailer, saying that its popular e-book reader the Kindle infringes upon a patent held by the company.

Most patent suits are between technology companies. Interestingly cable programming giant Discovery says it has valuable intellectual property that is being infringed by Amazon's popular Kindle and Kindle 2 electronic book products.

The lawsuit is focusing specifically on Amazon's delivery and distribution system for the books. Specifically, the company claims its patent covers a "secure, encrypted system for the selection, transmission, and sale of electronic books."

Discovery referenced development work by founder John Hendricks in patent 7,298, 851, which the company was issued Nov. 20, 2007. The first edition of the Kindle launched in the U.S. Nov. 19, 2007

Discovery did not reference any other electronic reader devices, such as the Sony Reader in the infringement suit.

"The Kindle and Kindle 2 are important and popular content delivery systems," said Joseph A. LaSala, Jr., General Counsel of Discovery Communications, in a statement. "We believe they infringe our intellectual property rights, and that we are entitled to fair compensation. 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." declined to comment.