M-Edge Accessories, a 50-person Maryland maker of sleeves and protective cases for electronic reading devices, is suing Amazon.com for patent infringement, unfair competition, intentional interference with contracts and false advertising.
“This case presents a classic example of unlawful corporate bullying,” according to the suit. “M-Edge developed a very successful product line: personal electronic device jackets with multiple features for the Kindle and other e-readers. Amazon thereafter repeatedly sought to hijack the product through threats, deceit, interference with M-Edge’s customer relationships, and patent infringement.”
The suit was filed last month in federal court in Maryland, and was covered today by The Wall Street Journal’s Stu Woo.
The suit says that Amazon.com demanded an increased commission rate on the Kindle cases, alleging that Amazon executive Jay Marine threatened to “de-list” M-Edge from its retail store.
The suit notes:
In February of 2010, Amazon’s Marine called M-Edge and stated that despite the existing contract terms, M-Edge had to retroactively pay the difference between the 8% fee and the 25% fee for all of January, 2010. That amount was approximately $600,000; a sizable sum to M-Edge. M-Edge refused, pointing to its existing, three-year contract which it had just signed in November of 2009. Marine replied that Amazon was “disappointed”, and stated that there would be “ramifications” resulting from M-Edge’s refusal.
Here’s a look at the full suit.