Fired Up: Discovery Sues Amazon Over Kindle

Kindle BookDiscovery Communications, one of the inventors of the modern-day TV documentary, believes it is the first inventor of a modern-day delivery device for electronic books --and it wants the legal system to recognize that.

Discovery is suing Amazon for copyright infringement for its popular Kindle and Kindle 2 electronic book delivery system. Discovery did not disclose a dollar amount in its filings, only that according to its general counsel executives, it "is entitled to fair compensation."

Industry estimates are that Amazon has already sold around 300,000 Kindle units at $399 apiece. (Amazon gets to hold onto around 50% of that revenue.) The average rate per book is $9.99, and estimates are that Kindle owners will buy $120 to $150 worth of books for each device. Amazon could sell around 2.2 million by 2010, giving it a massive $750 million in revenue from unit and book sales.

Discovery credits company founder John Hendricks as a significant player in developing this type of digital content and delivery system back in the 1990s. Two other inventors credited include Michael Asmussen and John McCoskey, according to court documents.

Timing is everything. Discovery said it got a United States Patent number 7,298, 851, on Nov. 20, 2007. The first edition of the Kindle launched in the U.S. Nov. 19, 2007. Discovery initially filed for the patent in September 1999.

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