The portion seen as potentially threatening to the Nook:
> A handheld electronic device comprising: a housing; an electronic paper display disposed in the housing and having a first surface area; and a liquid crystal display (LCD) disposed in the housing proximate the electronic paper display, the LCD having a second surface area that is smaller than the first surface area of the electronic paper display.
Except that, if that quote accurately describes the patent, the Nook has prior art given that this patent was granted June 6, 2010. If anything, this is potential trouble for Amazon, as they could stand to be sued.
That said, it's a single quote from a patent. Things are never what they seem; patent trolling wouldn't be profitable if they were.
But... the Nook existed prior to this patent by >6 months, implying at least a couple years of development prior to the patent. Amazon hasn't made anything with an Eink+LCD. Effectively, Amazon is trying to patent something currently selling. It'd be like my getting a patent, right now, for some major feature of the iPhone 4.
As msg points out, the patent was _submitted_ in 2006. That's the date that matters for determining "who was first?".
Also, you don't have to actually create the product to receive the patent for it. The idea is that the patent protects your right to build said product, without worrying about a faster competitor beating you to the punch.
I'm not saying I agree with how the patent system works, but how I understand it, Amazon's patent isn't affected by any product released after they submitted the patent request.
Actually, in the US, the "who was first?" date is the date of invention, not the date of patent application submission. Of course, it's not always easy to prove that you invented something on a particular date, say, a date before your competitor submitted their patent application. It's especially difficult if you've been developing an idea in secret for some time before applying for the patent (though I believe there's an 18 month grace period before the USPTO will publish your patent application filing).
Or so a patent lawyer told me, anyway. It's possible I misunderstood something.
The accepted method is to log it into a patent notebook (bound book with numbered pages), and get it co-signed by someone knowledgeable enough to testify in court about the content. Signature should say 'read and understood'.
This book makes good reading:
Laser: The Inventor, the Nobel Laureate, and the Thirty-Year Patent War
A much better way to establish priority is to file a provisional patent, good for a year.
The book "Patent it yourself" makes good reading - not as good as working with a patent attorney, but a lot cheaper.
Out of curiosity: could you prove it by sending an email to a system you don't control, like Gmail? If you kept gmail logs of your creations / thoughts, and can't fake the date, it seems to me that'd be proof.
Or can you fake the date with Gmail? If so, know of a possible alternative? I'll probably end up using it.