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Wired: Another Amazon Patent Furor

Mar 02, 2000, 15:30 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Chris Oakes)

"We believe that the rapid innovation on the World Wide Web ... will be choked off if companies take the short-sighted route of filing patents on commonly accepted and obvious techniques," wrote technology book publisher Tim O'Reilly in an open letter to Amazon.com...."

"The so-called "Internet-based customer referral system" allows "associate" Web sites to market products for a second merchant Web site in return for a commission."

"When a customer selects a referral link, the customer's computer transmits unique IDs of the selected product and of the associate to the merchant's site."

"Many Web sites employ the technology. The concern is that Amazon may try to use the patent as a technological stranglehold on its e-commerce competitors. Though it hasn't commented on plans for the patent, the company could sue competitors for infringement, or force sites to agree to financial terms in licensing deals in order to continue the practice."

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