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Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet hit by patent lawsuit

The upcoming tablet is on the receiving end of a patent lawsuit from Smartphone Technologies, a firm owned by patent licensing company Acacia Research.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Amazon's Kindle Fire
Amazon's Kindle Fire Sarah Tew/CBS Interactive

Though it won't reach store shelves until next month, Amazon's new Kindle Fire is already the target of a patent lawsuit.

A company called Smartphone Technologies filed the suit last Friday in Texas Eastern District Court accusing the Fire tablet of violating four of its patents.

Smartphone Technologies is owned by Acacia Research, a firm that buys and licenses patents and is seen by many as a patent troll. Acacia has kept the courts busy launching suits against the likes of Apple and Research In Motion.

The patents named in the suit against Amazon seem to include several basic features commonly used on smartphones and tablets, according to PaidContent.org. One patent cited in the suit, U.S. Patent No. 6,956,562, simply refers to a method for using a touch screen to enter commands on a handheld computer.

Another patent in question relates to a method for storing calendars on a PDA and was initially issued to Palm in 2002. A fifth patent named in the suit targets Amazon's "Kindle 3G + Wifi" device, according to PaidContent.

Over the years, Acacia and its various subsidiaries have filed a bevy of patent suits, including one in 2004 against a slew of cable companies and another in 2007 against Novell and Red Hat.

Selling for $199, the Kindle Fire is due to hit the market on November 15.