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Date: 1999-12-23

Internet, Wilder Westen, Copyright

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q/depesche 99.12.23/oans

Internet, Wilder Westen, Copyright

Nicht ganz taufrisch vom Printdatum, aber vom Inhalt her
alles andere als in/aktuell. Wie E-Kommerz vom
Patentierwahn/sinn gewürgt wird, es liest sich abenteuerlich.

Das Paradigma der antiken Firma Xerox und ihre vormalige
Blockade der Konkurrenz durch Patentierung allen Kopierens
auf Normal/papier möge ein warnend Beispiel sein.

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relayed by Dave Banisar
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December 11, 1999

Surging Number of Patents Engulfs Internet Commerce

ll over the Internet, from the most popular search engines to
personal home pages, are buttons that offer to send users to
an online store where they can buy books or music or other
merchandise. Hundreds of thousands of sites have added
these links because they earn commissions if any of their
users click on them and then buy something.

This week, those sites suddenly found themselves at risk of
violating a patent just granted to a New York company called
LinkShare Corp. That patent gives LinkShare the right to
block anyone from using such an arrangement for links
between sites with commission payments.

The number of patents related to the Internet has been

"This is the end of the wild, wild West on the Web," said
Stephen Messer, LinkShare's founder and chief executive.
"There are laws that protect the pioneers from pirates who
steal all of their good ideas. Everything you love to do on the
Internet will have some sort of patent on it."
..., for example, has sued Microsoft and its travel
service, Expedia, over Priceline's patented arrangement
letting customers name their price for flights and hotels.
Yahoo has been sued by an inventor who claims a patent on
a shopping-cart feature on its site. And DoubleClick Inc., a
big Internet advertising network, has sued two smaller
companies over its patent on an ad-targeting technology.

Some suits are already changing the face of the Internet. Two
weeks ago, for example, a federal judge issued a preliminary
injunction barring from letting
customers buy goods with a single mouse click, a method
Amazon has patented.

"People are getting patents on things that are too general,"
said Jerry Yang, the co-founder of Yahoo. "It's not healthy for
patents to be used to stop other people from doing

One reason for the surprise is that patent applications in the
United States are secret until they are granted. And the U.S.
Patent and Trademark office is only now approving
applications filed two or three years ago in the formative
stages of the Web. The office granted 1,390 patents related
to the Internet in the first half of 1999, compared with only
648 in all of 1997.
For example, of Mount Lebanon, Pa., says
it has a patent on the entire concept of selling music through
digital downloads, one of the hottest trends on the Internet.
Sightsound has demanded that anyone selling music in
digital form online pay it a royalty of 1 percent. It is suing
CDNow, the online music store being acquired by Time
Warner and Sony, to assert that claim.
At the end of the day, Internet sites may be forced to pay
royalties to use some of the most popular features. And in
some cases, patent holders may keep some of the best
ideas to themselves, the way Xerox, for example, blocked
competitors from offering plain-paper copiers for years.

Volltext, aus Gründen des Copyrights regist/rierungs/pfl/ichtig
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published on: 1999-12-23
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