Maryland maker of Kindle cases sues Amazon
It wasn't too long ago -- in May, actually -- when I was getting pitched by a PR representative hired by M-Edge Accessories to write about its growing business and how it was working with Amazon to sell its range of Kindle/tablet cases.
But somewhere along the way, apparently, the relationship soured.
The Odenton-based company last month filed a federal lawsuit in Maryland that accuses Amazon of unfair business practices. (The WSJ reported it this morning, saying that it was filed last week. In fact, last week, M-Edge simply amended its original complaint, which was filed Nov. 18. Anyway....)
In the complaint, M-Edge blasts the massive web with multiple accusations, including "patent infringement, unfair competition, intentional interference with contracts and economic relations, and false advertising."
Indeed, the first sentence of the meat of the lawsuit characterizes Amazon's alleged behavior toward M-Edge as "a classic example of unlawful corporate bullying."
M-Edge has 50 employees. Amazon is much, much bigger. The company makes a wide range of Kindle and tablet cases, and says in its complaint that it's products used to be top sellers. But M-Edge claims that Amazon "de-listed" them from their website. At the heart of the complaint, M-Edge says it had a contract with Amazon to pay it 15 percent commission for M-Edge accessory sales -- but in January last year, Amazon allegedly wanted to up the rate to 32 percent.
Since Amazon sales accounted for 90 percent of its business, M-Edge eventually signed a new contract in July last year, the company claims.
The allegations are interesting, and gives a one-sided view of an interesting relationship between a tiny company (M-Edge) and a goliath (Amazon) as the goliath launched the Kindle and watched it grow into a big business. I'm waiting to see how Amazon responds to the lawsuit. Meanwhile, I'm waiting for comment from M-Edge.
Here is the lawsuit, which really is more interesting than anything I could write about it:
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