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

[ 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

“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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