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IBM wades into Amazon for patent infringement

Oi - we invented ordering things online...

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IBM today announced it had filed two patent infringement lawsuits against ecommerce monolith Amazon.com.

The lawsuits reportedly accuse Amazon of "willfully" violating IBM patents for "such services as allowing users to order items from an electronic catalog and displaying internet advertising".

IBM listed the patents it reckons Amazon defiled as:

  • US 5,796,967 - Presenting Applications in an Interactive Service.
  • US 5,442,771 - Storing Data in an Interactive Network.
  • US 7,072,849 - Presenting Advertising in an Interactive Service.
  • US 5,446,891 - Adjusting Hypertext Links with Weighted User Goals and Activities.
  • US 5,319,542 - Ordering Items Using an Electronic Catalogue.

According to Yahoo!, Dr John E. Kelly III, senior vice president of IBM Technology and Intellectual Property, declared: "We filed this case for a very simple reason. IBM's property is being knowingly and unfairly exploited.

"IBM is one of the world's leading creators of intellectual property and one of the most progressive in embracing new, highly collaborative ways of driving and managing innovation. Everything we do is premised on the fundamental principle that IBM's intellectual property is one of our core assets, and represents the work product of tens of thousands of scientists and engineers and billions of dollars of investment."

Mercifully, a quick search of the United States Patent and Trademark Office revealed that IBM does not appear to hold a patent on the entire concept of ecommerce.

Its claim, however, is not without precedent. Patent kerfuffle aficionados will remember Amazon's successful attack on Barnes & Noble.com which proved that it alone could claim to have invented the "1-Click" system "allowing customers to make repeat purchases at a website with just one mouse click, storing customer details for future use". ®

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