Hot on the heels of its controversial “One-Click” patent, Amazon.com may have struck gold again with a newly issued patent relating to its system by which other websites send its customers in exchange for a commission. These so-called affiliate programs are a common technique used among e-commerce websites to increase traffic and product sales. The new Amazon patent could prevent Amazon’s competitors from using the method, or as an alternative, enable Amazon to charge a license fee for its use. A third possibility is that Amazon will be reluctant to step up to enforce the new patent for fear that a court might find the patent invalid. Amazon spokespersons have thus far declined to tip their hands as to the company’s intentions.
It’s a Jungle Out There: The New Amazon E-Patent (Apr 2000)
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