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Amazon.com Allowed to Enjoin a Competitor That Copied Its Patented Ordering System
Description Trial judge held that Amazon.com was entitled to a preliminary injunction against a competitor that copied Amazon's patented "one-click" shopping method. Evidence indicated that the validity of the patent may well be upheld at trial, so Amazon could prevent competitors from copying its protected method until final resolution of the matter.
Topic Cyberlaw
Key Words Patents; Online Retailing Methods
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Amazon.com was issued a patent in 1999 for "Placing a Purchase Order Via a Communications Network." Essentially, the patent covers Amazon's "one-click" ordering method for purchases made over the Internet by its established customers. Barnesandnoble.com (Barnes) copied the system, so Amazon sued Barnes for patent infringement. Barnes defended that the patent was invalid. Amazon moved for an injunction against the use of the one-click method by Barnes.
Decision Injunction granted. The evidence indicates that the patent was not anticipated by prior art and Barnes was unlikely, at trial, to rebut the presumption of nonobviousness. Since Amazon showed a likelihood of success on the merits of its infringement claim, it had the right to have its patent right enforced by an injunction against Barnes for copying its patented retailing method. Amazon could suffer irreparable harm if competitors were allowed to infringe on its patent. Innovation in the shopping experience is at the heart of Amazon's business, which has allowed it to build a customer base and make significant investments that could be harmed if it could not enforce its patent rights until the validity of the patent could be established at a full trial that addresses that issue.
Citation Amazon.com, Inc. v. Barnesandnoble.com, Inc., 73 F.Supp.2d 1228 (W.D. Wash., 1999)

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