Spring Design Nook injunction denied, but battle's still on

In lawsuit related to trade secrets, court denies start-up's request for a halt to Nook sales, but that doesn't mean a future injunction is out of the question.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

Start-up Spring Design has been denied an injunction to halt Barnes & Noble from selling its Nook e-reader, according to court documents.

The company had requested the injunction, in addition to monetary damages, as part of a recent lawsuit filed in federal court in San Jose, Calif. The suit charges that the bookseller misappropriated Spring Design trade secrets in the design of its Nook, which launched October 20, the day after Spring Design announced its Alex e-book reader.

The court's decision (PDF), based on a Monday hearing, denies Spring Design's request for a preliminary injunction, but states that a halt to sales could still be appropriate if the plaintiff ultimately prevails. The court also says it will expedite the pre-trial process to accommodate Spring's request for an early hearing.

Barnes & Noble does not comment on litigation as a matter of policy, a company spokeswoman said Wednesday. CNET has contacted Spring Design for a comment and is waiting to hear back.

The Nook, like Spring Design's Alex (which has yet to be released), combines a color touch screen with an e-ink display, and both readers use the Android operating system. In its lawsuit, Spring Design said 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.

So sales of the Nook will move forward for now, though not without hitches of a non-legal sort.

When Barnes & Noble officially entered the e-reader market in late October, customers placing early preorders were told they could expect the Nook to ship by the end of November. However, the bookseller pushed that date back, telling preorder customers they could expect shipment by December 11.

And Sunday, Barnes & Noble said that it won't feature the Nook in stores for sale or demonstration until later than expected because the bookseller is making it a priority to deliver the high-demand $259 Nook to customers who ordered the device before November 20.

Alex and Nook
Spring Design's Alex (left) and Barnes & Noble's Nook. (Note: the images are not to scale.)

(Via Engadget)