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Amazon.com: An Open Letter From Jeff Bezos On The Subject of Patents

Mar 09, 2000, 20:47 (9 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jeff Bezos)

[ Thanks to Sara Winge for this link. ]

"I've received several hundred e-mail messages on the subject of our 1-Click ordering patent. Ninety-nine percent of them were polite and helpful. To the other one percent -- thanks for the passion and color!"

"Before I go on, I'd like to thank Tim O'Reilly. Tim and I have had three long conversations about this issue, and they've been incredibly helpful to me as I've tried to clarify in my mind what is the right thing to do. I had previously known Tim as the publisher of the successful and excellent O'Reilly technical books. He off-handedly proved his narrative and editing skills when he took what was our first rambling hour-long conversation and somehow made sense of it all in a posting on his site. My thinking on the topic of business method and software patents has been strongly influenced by Tim's observations, and especially his ability to ask excellent questions. I also read the first four hundred or so responses to Tim's summary of our conversation -- these too were helpful."

"Now, while we've gotten substantially less e-mail on this issue than we have over several other lightning-rod issues in the past, I've spent a lot more time thinking about this one. Why? Because the more I thought about it, the more important I came to realize this issue is. I now believe it's possible that the current rules governing business method and software patents could end up harming all of us -- including Amazon.com and its many shareholders, the folks to whom I have a strong responsibility, not only ethical, but legal and fiduciary as well."

"Despite the call from many thoughtful folks for us to give up our patents unilaterally, I don't believe it would be right for us to do so. This is my belief even though the vast majority of our competitive advantage will continue to come not from patents, but from raising the bar on things like service, price, and selection -- and we will continue to raise that bar...."

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