Amazon settles one-click patent dispute with Barnesandnoble.com

After more than two years, Amazon.com Inc. has settled its patent-infringement suit against rival Barnesandnoble.com Inc. over the use of its one-click system.

The U.S. District Court in Seattle officially ended the case Tuesday, according to court records, though details of the settlement weren't disclosed.

"We really don't have much to say except we are pleased to have resolved this and put this matter behind us," spokeswoman Patty Smith of Seattle-based Amazon.com said.

Barnesandnoble.com spokeswoman Carolyn Brown said her company would confirm only that the suit had been settled, noting that the details of the settlement were sealed and confidential.

In addition, Brown said Barnesandnoble.com wouldn't comment on whether it would begin using the one-click feature again.

Amazon.com's one-click system allows repeat online customers to place orders without re-entering credit card or address information. Included in the patent is the technology that stores billing and shipping data.

Amazon.com, which started offering its one-click feature in September 1997 and received a patent for it in September 1999, sued Barnesandnoble.com in October 1999 for patent infringement (see story).

In December 1999, Amazon obtained a preliminary court injunction against Barnesandnoble.com that prevented its competitor from using the one-click system, but the injunction was overruled in February last year.

Amazon.com, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and the U.S. Patent and Trade Office have been criticized in the past by independent software developers for obtaining and granting software patents. Critics said the online retailer was using the patent to undercut its competition and that the patent office showed a clear lack of understanding of software in granting the patent claim.

Computerworld's Brian Sullivan contributed to this report.

Related stories:

Copyright © 2002 IDG Communications, Inc.

7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon