Apple sues Amazon over Android app store

Caroline Gabriel/Rethink Wireless
23 Mar 2011

Amazon duly opened the doors of its Android Appstore at the CTIA Wireless show, but the first to strike back was not Google - whose Android Market Amazon threatens to undercut - but Apple.

The iPhone maker filed suit, claiming trademark infringement by Amazon's choice of name for its digital shopfront.

Meanwhile, another Android related lawsuit landed on the desk of Amazon's main US e-reader rival, Barnes & Noble, which is being sued by Microsoft for alleged patent violation.

The Android community is facing a web of litigation, though with the notable exception of Oracle/Java, most lawsuits are steering clear of Google itself. Microsoft, in particular, has staked a claim to many patents included in Android and its Linux foundation, with its suits partly designed to make its own WP7 more attractive, for being invulnerable to such actions.

It sued Motorola last October, but it has not gone directly after Google yet, though the search giant did not hesitate to denounce its move, saying the lawsuit against B&N's Nook e-reader stifled innovation.

Microsoft's suit in US District Court alleges that the Android-based Nook violates several patents. Google responded in a statement: “Sweeping software patent claims like Microsoft's threaten innovation. While we are not a party to this lawsuit, we stand behind the Android platform and the partners who have helped us to develop it.”

The action also cites manufacturer Foxconn of Taiwan, which makes the Nook. The firm was unfazed, with an official saying: "These things are very common practice in the industry. This is a routine matter."

Another Taiwanese manufacturer and co-defendant, Inventec, did not comment, and nor did B&N itself. Accompanying the lawsuit is a complaint to the US International Trade Commission, which can theoretically ban imports into the country of devices that infringe patents.

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