Spring Design are a Calif. based company with a single product, the Alex ereader. This is a dual screen Android based ereader which they announced last fall. It looks a lot like the Nook. Hardly anyone bought it and I'm a little surprised to find the company still operating.
I reviewed it back in April.
Spring Design sued B&N last year because of the similarity between the 2 ereaders. The basis for the lawsuit is that over the course of several meetings B&N copied ideas from Spring Design and incorporated them into the Nook.
I don't think there's much of a case here. I happened to bump into a Spring Design engineer at CES 2010, and he didn't think B&N copied anything. B&N already had the Nook's hardware design complete before Spring Design saw it, and when the Nook was launched it had pretty crappy set of software features.
Also, I've had my hands on a Spring Design Alex. I don't see what features on the Nook were copied from it. The Alex had many neat tricks that the Nook could have used but did not.
Anyway, back to today's news story. B&N tried to get the case dropped. On Monday U.S. District Judge James Ware ruled against B&N. The case will continue.