Amazon's Evolving Views on Patents

Rich Tehrani : Communications and Technology Blog - Tehrani.com
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Amazon's Evolving Views on Patents

In the 1990 patent suits in tech were quite infrequent but today, there is more news on international patents than just about any other tech news category. That’s why I thought this research note from the Yankee Group was worth sharing. Bezos is certainly not the only person to have a concern about a behavior he once espoused but he certainly benefited from such behavior in a spectacular way.

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, isn’t keeping it a secret that he isn’t a fan of the seemingly constant patent lawsuits happening today. In fact, Bezos thinks that the legal battles might actually threaten innovation and even society itself.

In an interview with Metro, Bezos noted that patents were intended to encourage innovation, but in today’s world they might actually do the opposite. Bezos said, “Governments may need to look at the patent system and see if those laws need to be modified because I don’t think some of these battles are healthy for society.” When asked if Amazon, which leads the e-reader market, would be making a smartphone of its own, Bezos declined to comment.

Yankee Group Research VP Carl Howe comments

“While Bezos may correctly recommend that governments re-evaluate their patent protections, I think this statement is a bit of the pot calling the kettle black. Amazon’s business-model patent on ‘one-click shopping’ is considered by many to have been the catalyst for today’s corporate behavior of patenting first and asking whether the patents are valid later. The idea that Amazon now considers this behavior as an impediment to innovation says to me that Amazon likes the patent system more when it protects Amazon’s business and less when it benefits competitors.”



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