Preliminary Injunction Denied in Barnes & Noble nook Case

Spring Design Inc. filed suit against Barnesandnoble.com, LLC in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California alleging three causes of action: (1) breach of written non-disclosure agreement, (2) misappropriation of trade secrets, and (3) common law unfair competition. Plaintiff “delivers innovative e-reader solutions and products to the e-book market.”

The factual allegations are as follows:

February 12, 2009 – Plaintiff and Defendant entered into a non-disclosure agreement. February 17, 2009 – Plaintiff presented its design for a dual-screen navigation electronic reader to an e-reader product consultant hired by Defendant.
May 13, 2009 – Plaintiff gave a presentation to a group of Defendant’s executives including a PowerPoint presentation with an overview of its design for an Android-based eReader named “Alex.” The PowerPoint slides indicated that they were confidential and subject to the NDA.
July 23, 2009 – Defendant emailed Plaintiff requesting a summary of Plaintiff’s product development. Plaintiff provided Defendant with an update, including a PowerPoint slide explaining how specific features of Alex represented a unique departure from Amazon’s Kindle 2, the main competitor of Defendant’s planned e-reader.
October 20, 2009 – Defendant announced the release of nook, its Android-based interactive dual-screen electronic reader that included features of Alex.

On November 30, 2009, the Court held a hearing and denied Plaintiff’s Motion for a Preliminary Injunction.

– Katie Cooper

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