Wired: Another Amazon Patent Furor

“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

“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.”