Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet has now taken perhaps its largest step toward being recognized as a legitimate player in the computer-gadget wars.
Namely, it's getting sued for patent infringement.
The lawsuit comes by way of Smartphone Technologies LLC, which is owned by Acacia Research Corp., the same company that's sued Apple and Research in Motion Ltd. (BlackBerry) for similar reasons and has a similar patent-troll reputation as Nathan Myhrvold's Intellectual Ventures (though on a smaller scale).
The Kindle Fire is, of course, not even on shelves yet. But the specs--especially the part about a touch screen--look awfully suspicious to the innovators (of widgets, apparently) over at Smartphone Technologies.
PaidContent notes that ST appears to be claiming to own a patent on all touch-screen devices.
The patents in the new Amazon litigation appear to cover commonplace features used on many tablets and smartphones. U.S. Patent No. 6,956,562, for instance, seems to describe the act of tapping an icon in order to instruct the device to perform an action:
According to the method, a graphical feature having a surface area is displayed on a touch-sensitive screen. ..To control software executing on the processor, a user-supplied writing on the surface area is received and the software is controlled responsive to the writing.
Amazon is thus far refusing to settle. And why would they? Nothing says you've made it in the tablet world quite like a lawsuit.