Kindle case maker calls Amazon.com a corporate bully in federal lawsuit

M-Edge sleeves

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.

  • Anonymous (of course)

    I don’t like M-Edge’s products, but this suit rings completely true. Amazon certainly acts like a bully. They view suppliers like M-Edge, as well as affiliates, as enemies instead of partners. The things they do to control pricing (especially in the ebook space) sure look like anti-trust violations and price fixing. A few more suits like this and the DOJ and state Attorney Generals will start digging. If Amazon doesn’t want the Microsoft sentence, they need to clean up their act.

  • Anonymous

    Amazon takes 25% commission on all Kindle related accessories sales, this is outraegous. That is why I sell my Kindle supplies on eBay, 

  • Another Anonymous

    Entirely credible. Amazon has changed the terms on their Associate and Advantage contracts repeatedly, offering favorable terms early-on and clawing back more and more every time. I’ve been in those programs since the early days, and my earnings are down to pennies these days.   

  • Anonymous

    Gosh! Just when I was beginning to think I had enough reasons to avoid dealing with Amazon along comes another one.

  • Jsc

    Amazon, Ebay, Google etc are all just a legalized Mafia. Strong arm and intimidating tactics  to go along will all their billions. The only difference they haven’t started “whacking” people yet, or have they??