Spring Design has filed a trade secret lawsuit against B&N over the design of the Nook. Spring Design said that they had been working with B&N on a reader, and showed them the design of Alex (reader on the left) before the Nook was developed (reader on the right). Basically, they are saying that B&N totally copied from them. Both readers do run on an Android platform and have dual screens, but there are differences as well. Alex has a full browser where you transfer info from the browser to the e-ink screen. For the Nook, there is no browser, and the touchscreen is only used for navigation not content.
In my opinion, I can’t imagine B&N trying to get away with copying a design. They wouldn’t risk losing a product they put so much advertising and hype into. You have to admit they are pretty similiar, although I think the Nook looks better. I am sure that Spring Design will get some cash, and be happy with that.