Could a legal challenge threaten the launch of Barnes & Noble's Nook e-reader?
In a new lawsuit, start-up Spring Design is seeking not only monetary damages from Barnes & Noble, but also is looking to get an injunction barring sales of the Nook, which it says misappropriates its trade secrets.
Spring Design said in a statement Monday that it had filed a lawsuit against Barnes & Noble, but the statement did not specify what damages it was seeking.
However, it turns out that the lawsuit, filed in federal court in San Jose, Calif., seeks both monetary damages as well as a halt to sales of the Nook.
According to the lawsuit, a copy of which was seen by CNET News, Spring Design says it is seeking "preliminary and permanent injunctive relief... restraining and enjoining B&N from use or disclosure of Spring's confidential information or trade secrets, including the sale of the Nook."
The Nook, like Spring Design's Alex, combines a color touch screen with an e-ink display, and both readers use the Android operating system. In its lawsuit, Spring Design says it showed its plans for the Alex to Barnes & Noble, which showed interest in the product and gave no indication it was working on a similar device.
The Nook, a clear and present challenger to Amazon's Kindle, is due to go on sale later this month for $259.
Barnes & Noble has declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying it does not discuss litigation matters.
Court papers filed by Spring Design also include a confidentiality agreement, signed in February, between the company and Barnes & Noble, as well as early Spring Design presentations and e-mails between Barnes & Noble and Spring executives.
As a reminder, here's a look at Spring Design's Alex (left) and Barnes & Noble's Nook (note--the images are not to scale):