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[FYI] Net Patent Squabbles Increase


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Net Patent Squabbles Increase 


AP Internet Writer 

NEW YORK (AP) -- Returning customers can buy a book from Amazon.com 
with a single mouse click now that the retail giant automatically 
retrieves a name, address and credit card number.  

Yet other sites that try one-click shopping could land in court: 
Amazon has a patent on the procedure.  

Such proprietary claims, being sorted out in federal courts, are 
fueling complaints that businesses are getting overly broad Internet 
patents for ideas that aren't so original.  

Critics say growing patent use may stymie the flow of ideas that 
makes the Internet so robust. And, they fear, companies worrying more 
about patents and less about customers could stunt Internet growth.  

"If everyone focuses on ideas, they don't get as much done,'' said 
Stuart Wolff, chairman of Homestore.com in Thousand Oaks, Calif. "You 
need people out there building stuff.''  

Other Internet companies consider patents an important reward. In 
1990, the U.S. government granted 22 patents for inventions tied to 
the Internet; by 1998, the number had jumped to 2,193.  


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