SAN FRANCISCO — Intellectual property activists and the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday accused Amazon.com Inc. of abusing its intellectual property rights in the development of the Echo speaker.
The group called on Amazon, which has become a major investor in Google Inc., to investigate allegations of intellectual property theft.
The group, which includes the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said Amazon has continued to develop the device despite complaints from the Intellectual Property Alliance of Australia and New Zealand, which have filed complaints with the U.S. Patent and Trade Office.
“Amazon is one of the world’s largest retailers of electronic goods.
Amazon has the potential to disrupt the traditional retail industry with its Echo speakers, and if it is determined that Amazon’s infringement of its intellectual properties is not limited to its products, then Amazon may be able to take steps to stop this threat,” the group wrote in a letter sent to Amazon’s chief executive officer Jeff Bezos.
The Amazon Echo speaker is seen at a news conference in Beijing, China, April 19, 2021.
The Intellectual Property Association of Australia said Amazon had not responded to requests for comment.
The organization called on the company to stop the development and sale of the device.
“If Amazon has indeed continued to license its patents to third parties, then it is now responsible for infringing on those patents and the infringement is illegal,” the letter said.
“Amazon must stop infringing on our intellectual property.”
The group said the Echo’s patented “Echo” technology was widely used in the music industry and that it was used in a variety of products.
Amazon has a history of infringing on intellectual property, including the sale of its Echo speaker, which is sold at an estimated price of $1,500.