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ex machina

thesis 12: there are no secrets. the networked market knows more than companies do about their own products. And whether the news is good or bad, they tell everyone.

well - reaction to the amazon patent has been [predictably] swift. i suppose this is what happens when a company that has never turned a profit attempts to satisfy shareholders. while i don't normally bother to attribute links, for some reason i'll give credit where credit due this time around - namely the following links are pilfered from Scripting News and Hack the Planet.

it seems that usability guru Jacob Nielson has predicted this kind of behavior:
"Many patents on fundamental e-commerce business models and Web user interface improvements will finally issue in 1999. It seems to take 3-4 years for most Internet patent applications to wind their way through the Patent Office, and since the years 1995 and 1996 were fertile ground for Web inventions we should start seeing many more Web patents issue soon.

With the Web, futurism has ceased being a luxury: regular visioneering projects are a necessary defense mechanism for anybody who wants to thrive in the network economy where your fundamental business and customer service become automated and thus patentable. Companies that don't claim their stake in the future will wake up in five years and discover that their competitors own all the patents they need to be on the Web.
not suprisingly - he has been taking his own advice - with some very innovative patents to boot:
"Nielsen, J.: Method and system for efficient organization of selectable elements on a graphical user interface, U.S. Patent 6,005,567 (1999)"
not that it's going to make a big impact on amazon, but i became the 44th person to join the nowebpatents boycott"
"Marketplaces pay a very high cost to grant patents -- patents inhibit open markets and stifle competition. Patents should only be issued in cases where someone can copy an innovation for a drastically lower cost than the innovator's original investment.

In this case, the patents cover the general mechanism behind one-click shopping and affiliate programs. However, any good programmer will tell you that the general mechanism is easy to design. It's the actual implementation, the programs themselves, that's difficult to produce.'s implementation, which accounts for the bulk of their investment in these technologies, is already protected by copyright law, and doesn't need the addition of a patent."
the .bookshelf links have also been changed to point to fatbrain [although it will take me some time to change all the archived links].

finally - a parting cheapshot directed towards people who are probably asked to do too much with too little:
"USPTO Employment Application

1. Name ______________ 2. Date _______________
3. DOB _______________ 4. SSN ________________

5. I.Q. (check one)
( ) Moron
( ) Idiot
( ) Dim-wit
( ) Liberal Arts Flunkee

(Y or N) Have you ever been affiliated with a terrorist organization or
received a grade D or or better on an engineering examination?

(Y or N) Can you be trained to operate a rubber stamp within a period
of 16 weeks?

(Y or N) Are you able to employ a method and process for inducing
condensation upon a reflecting surface?

(Y or N) Do you agree that you deserve a patent for the above?

(Y or N) Were you alive when Al Gore invented the Internet?

(Y or N) Do you agree he deserves a patent for that?

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2/27/2000 06:22:00 PM 0 comments


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