US bookstore Barnes & Noble's new ebook reader - the Nook - is under threat after a rival hardware developer claimed that the design was poached.
The Nook uses a dual screen approach to ebook display, with the lower half of the device a capacitive LCD using an Android interface and the upper half a 'normal' ebook display.
But Spring Design launched a device - the Alex - with a similar layout the day before the Nook - although it has a larger lower screen that sends internet pages up to the e-ink screen for low battery reading.
However, the whole process was under NDA, and the dual release has prompted Spring Design to file a trade secret lawsuit.
The two devices are different in design, and slightly different in function (the Alex has a full Android internet browser, while the Nook simply has touch navigation) but the fact they were released so close together means there's something decidedly fishy about the whole situation.