Barnes & Noble's calls for the Spring Design lawsuit that claims the retailer stole design ideas to use in its original NOOK ereader have been denied, leaving the case - in which Spring Design claim misappropriated trade secrets, breach of contract and unfair competition - to continue. Spring Design allege that B&N stole ideas from their Alex ereader during a period of co-development in 2009, with a judge deciding there was "significant factual dispute" over whether the NOOK's design was influenced by ideas shared under NDA.
The Alex went on sale in April 2010, priced at $299, and has not seen the same sales success as the original NOOK. In 2009, the two companies discussed a potential partnership, with Spring Design primarily responsible for hardware design while B&N would provide the ebookstore and marketing power; those discussions broke down, with Barnes & Noble going it alone and launching the NOOK in October 2009. Spring Design attempted to secure an injunction against sales, but it was denied. Neither company has commented on this latest ruling.