Discovery sues Amazon over Kindle, but the e-book revolution rolls on

Bruce Watson

On Tuesday, Discovery Communications Inc. (DISCA), owners of the Discovery channel, filed a lawsuit against Amazon (AMZN), claiming that the online retailer's Kindle reader infringes on patents they hold. This follows on the heels of a difficult few weeks for Amazon, as the Kindle has been attacked by publishers, even as it watches fresh competitors enter the electronic reader fray.

Discovery alleges that its founder, John Hendrix, holds the patent for the encryption technology that the reader uses. Hendrix and Discovery were pioneers in "digital content and delivery services in the 1990s," and invented a system that allowed users to select, purchase, and receive online books. According to the company, this program, for which Hendrix received a patent in 2007, forms the basis of the Kindle's technology.