Back in October of last year, Amazon was hit with a lawsuit. Seemed an odd claim at the time.
Smartphone Technologies, the plaintiff in the suit, accused Amazon of violating patents that it holds. Upon closer examination, these patents are more for "methods" rather than devices. One patent, for example, was for:
"A method for software control using a user-interactive display screen feature is disclosed that reduces stylus or other manipulations necessary to invoke software functionality from the display screen... [A] graphical feature having a surface area is displayed on a touch-sensitive screen. The touch-sensitive screen is coupled to at least one processor and the graphical feature is generated by an operating system and uniquely associated with a particular software program by the operating system."
See? This "patent" could apply to any number of devices that have come about in the past few years. Hardly seems like something that any knowledgeable Patent Office official would have let pass. It was filed in May of 2000, back when all this hocus-pocus probably seemed very "Minority Report" and likely to be controlled by one manufacturer in the future.
Which is probably why this Smartphone Technologies company bought the patent. Not to use it for invention or manufacture, but for lawsuit fodder.
So, for reasons unknown to the public, Amazon and Smartphone have somehow come to an agreement that keeps the whole thing out of court. Speculation abounds. Maybe Amazon bought the patent, or partnered with Smartphone to go after other tablet makers. Maybe they paid them to go away. Maybe someone found a horses head in... never mind.
Point is: There was a lawsuit. Now there isn't. Carry on.