It’s the end of an era.
On September 11, 2017, Amazon’s most infamous patent expires—the “one-click patent” that allows Amazon to control the selling of goods to consumers with a single click. After Amazon was granted this patent in 1999, the company sued Barnes & Noble over its one-click purchase system, and won an injunction that forced B&N to add more steps to its checkout process. Subsequently, Apple paid Amazon big bucks to license one-click sales for its Apple Store in 2000 and iTunes in 2008.
But after next month, anyone who wants to sell with a single click can do so without paying Jeff Bezos one red cent.
Of course, by this stage in the game that doesn’t mean a whole lot. Over the last twenty years, ecommerce has become simply part of the landscape—it wasn’t the new and amazing thing it was in the last days of the 20th century. Selling with a single click isn’t a huge competitive advantage anymore—if indeed it really was back then. When was the last time you saw Amazon make a big deal out of having one-click shopping?
At this point, the end of the patent is more notable for the fact that it is ending. I won’t be surprised if we see a new blossoming of one-click purchasing options on web stores all across the Internet, but I’ll be very surprised if anybody bases an ad campaign on it.
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