Amazon feels pointy end of software patenting

BTG sues others, too

The British Technology Group (BTG), the IP holding and technology commercialisation outfit, is suing a group of US online retailers, including Amazon.com, for allegedly infringing patents it holds that cover tracking the path a user has taken through the web.

BarnesandNoble.com, Netflix and Overstock.com are also named in the suit, which was filed in Federal Court in Delaware.

BTG sfiled the suit after "efforts to reach an agreement to sell or license the patents to [the companies named] on commercially reasonable terms". It is seeking unspecified damages and an injunction against future use.

The patents in question, US patents 5,717,860 and 5,712,979, were granted to Infonautics in 1998. BTG bought the patents in 2002.

Ian Harvey, BTG CEO, said today that the patents are "fundamental to the tracking of users for the online marketing programmes used by Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Netflix and Overstock.com". He added that the commercial potential of the technology is "significant".

BTG is also in the middle of legal action against Microsoft and Apple, whom it claims have infringed on other patents it holds, covering automated software updates. ®

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