Updated from 1:40 p.m. EDT

Discovery Communications

(DISCA) - Get Report

is suing


(AMZN) - Get Report

over alleged patent infringement concerning the Kindle and Kindle 2 book readers.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Delaware, alleges infringement of a Discovery company-owned patent for electronic book technology. Discovery Communications alleges that Amazon's sale of the Kindle and Kindle 2 products and its entire electronic book delivery system infringe on the patent 7,298,851, "Electronic Book Security and Copyright Protection System."

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According to a press release, "Discovery Communications and

company founder John S. Hendricks were significant players in the development of digital content and delivery services in the 1990's. Hendricks' work included inventions of a secure, encrypted system for the selection, transmission, and sale of electronic books."

Discovery's general counsel, Joseph A. LaSala Jr., said: "The Kindle and Kindle 2 are important and popular content delivery systems. We believe they infringe our intellectual property rights, and that we are entitled to fair compensation. Legal action is not something Discovery takes lightly. Our tradition as an inventive company has produced considerable intellectual property assets for our shareholders, and today's infringement litigation is part of our effort to protect and defend those assets."

I contacted Amazon.com to ask if there would be a formal reply concerning the suit. Andrew Herdener, the director of communications, said, "No, but thanks for checking."

Discovery Communications runs a number of popular cable TV networks, including The Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Planet Green and Fit TV, plus related Web sites and a popular online store.

Gary Krakow is TheStreet.com's senior technology correspondent.