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Supplier calls Amazon a bully and a copycat in new suit

Kindle case-maker M-Edge is suing Web giant Amazon, saying the retailer was a corporate bully that infringed on one of its patents.

An M-Edge Kindle case.
An M-Edge Kindle case. M-Edge

Accessory maker M-Edge is suing Amazon, claiming the online retailer bullied it into making less profitable deals while infringing on its intellectual property.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Maryland last week and picked up by the Wall Street Journal, alleges that Amazon repeatedly tried to change the terms in a 2009 contract between the two companies.

"This case presents a classic example of unlawful corporate bullying," the suit reads. "M-Edge developed a very successful product line: personal electronic device jackets with multiple features for the Kindle and other e-readers. Amazon thereafter repeatedly sought to hijack the product through threats, deceit, interference with M-Edge's customer relationships, and patent infringement."

Amazon declined to comment on the suit, the WSJ reported.

Chief among M-Edge's complaints is that Amazon allegedly attempted to increase the commission it receives on M-Edge cases sold through Amazon's Kindle store from 15 percent to 32 percent by threatening the accessory maker with removal from Amazon's store if it didn't comply.

The suit adds that the companies reached an agreement, but that Amazon then sought to recoup a retroactive commission increase. M-Edge states that when it pushed back in the negotiations, Amazon repeatedly threatened to block the company's products from its product pages and to deny M-Edge access to Kindle design specifications ahead of launch.

M-Edge also claims Amazon is infringing its patent on a cover with a built-in book light. Amazon has its own lighted leather cover, which it began offering with its third-generation Kindle E-Reader.

The suit seeks damages and a permanent injunction against Amazon for its alleged infringement.