USA Today: Outrage pending over Net patents

The problem with patent law – and the problem for the
people at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office who enforce it – is
that it’s a 19th century construct trying to deal with 21st century

“Which is why everyone started yelling Friday when it was
announced that the patent office had granted Amazon.com a patent on
its affiliate program. That’s the deal whereby if you put a link to
Amazon on your Web site and someone clicks on it, goes to Amazon
and buys something, you get a cut.”

“That’s news to the 60 or so companies gathering next week in
Miami Beach for a conference on affiliate programming. It’s
currently estimated that up to 20% of Web site sales come via
affiliates, says Herby Olschewski, convention chairman for


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