Spring Design may be voluntarily "phasing out" the Alex ereader but its taken a settlement offer from Barnes & Noble to end the ongoing lawsuit between the two firms. According to a B&N press release, "Spring Design will grant Barnes & Noble a non-exclusive, paid-up royalty free license for the entire portfolio of Spring Design patents and patent applications."
The financial terms of the deal have not been revealed, so we don't know how much B&N is paying Spring Design in return for the patent access. The smaller company had alleged that Barnes & Noble used privileged information in their ereader hardware development, that had been gleaned during negotiations prior to the original NOOK's release when Spring Design were in the running to develop the device.
B&N had sought to have the litigation dismissed, but were rejected by a court decision that there was "genuine dispute" over whether IP theft had taken place.
Barnes & Noble, Inc. Settles Litigation with Spring Design
New York, NY – March 2, 2011 – Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world’s largest bookseller, today announced that it has settled a lawsuit brought against the Company by Spring Design, Inc. Spring Design initiated legal action against Barnes & Noble in November 2009, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, in connection with Spring Design’s Alex eReader.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Spring Design will grant Barnes & Noble a non-exclusive, paid-up royalty free license for the entire portfolio of Spring Design patents and patent applications. The terms of the settlement are otherwise confidential. The settlement agreement announced today resolves all claims brought by Spring Design, which will be dismissed with prejudice.
Eugene V. DeFelice, Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Barnes & Noble, Inc., said, “We are pleased to put this matter behind us. NOOK Color™ and NOOK™, together with Spring Design’s patents and patent applications, have become two of our most innovative and highly-sought after devices. Barnes & Noble is pleased to add Spring Design’s patents and patent applications as a complementary addition to our rapidly growing digital portfolio.”