Amazon Accused of Extortion, Patent Infringement and More in New Lawsuit

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Shannon Stapleton / Reuters

Did Amazon.com really try and extort a higher commission from a small company selling Kindle accessories and then, when the company refused to pay up, bury the company’s products deep within Amazon’s labyrinthine structure? That’s the question central to a lawsuit filed against the online giant by M-Edge Accessories.

The Maryland-based company is accusing Amazon of unfair competition and threatening to hide its products in search results after M-Edge denied Amazon’s request to increase its commission on Kindle cases from 15% to 32%. Sound ridiculous? It gets weirder: According to the lawsuit, M-Edge paid Amazon $6.5 million to remain visible in its marketplace only to discover that its products were suddenly listed as unavailable, just as Amazon launched its own version of the product.

M-Edge’s lawsuit was filed last week in Maryland federal court, and Amazon has declined to comment on the subject.

MORE: Good Grief: Users Panning Amazon’s Kindle Fire, or Just the Media?

Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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