Patents can have a significant effect on a business and its development. At the height of the dotcom bubble, US patent 5,960,411 was granted to a small book retailer that changed the way consumers made online purchases, making an online transaction faster. The premise, 1-click ordering, would only be allowed when using that bookstore’s website: Amazon.com.
Patents can apply to more than just technological inventions. In the case of 1-click ordering, the patent was granted as a new, novel, and non-obvious business method, though this became controversial. In an interview with NPR, former commissioner for patents Robert Stoll noted that the “novelty of the Internet made what looks in retrospect like kind of small changes to business methods to seem newly patentable.”
If you’ve ever used 1-click ordering on any website that’s not Amazon.com, there’s a good chance that website is paying Amazon to license that business practice. With the patent’s expiration, observers expect many big companies to create their own 1-click ordering systems in short order. Some tech giants are also discussing the possibility of an Internet-wide system.
Listen to the full NPR interview here.
The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth provides a full range of intellectual property legal services, including patents. Our intellectual property attorneys can help businesses, inventors, and entrepreneurs secure the competitive edge needed to thrive in today’s market. Call 888-517-9888 for a free consultation!