Amazon's Latest Silly Patent: The String At The End Of A URL

from the can-we-patent-being-asleep-at-the-switch? dept

Just as it looks like Amazon may be losing its infamous “one-click” patent (though, there’s still an appeals process to wait through), the company may have just received yet another ridiculous patent. As pointed out by Slashdot, Amazon has been granted a patent on adding a search string at the end of a URL, without having to include additional characters like “&q=search+query.” This technique, of course, was first seen at Amazon’s search subsidiary A9 when it launched. At the time, we thought it was neat, but it hardly seems deserving of a patent. This is clearly not what the patent system was designed to protect. It’s for major breakthroughs, not how you happen to set things up. This would be like allowing a restaurant to patent the idea of hanging a menu in the window. It’s a nice idea, but what’s wrong with letting others do it as well without having to pay up first?

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Companies: a9, amazon

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Comments on “Amazon's Latest Silly Patent: The String At The End Of A URL”

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16 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Changing your own rules again?

At first you said patents should only be giving for truly novel ideas….

And you just said “At the time, we thought it was neat” which would support it was “novel”.

But, now you seem to have changed your mind in that it’s not enough to be just a novel idea – it has to be a “major breakthrough”.

Mike, are you bipolar by any chance?

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Changing your own rules again?

At first you said patents should only be giving for truly novel ideas…. And you just said “At the time, we thought it was neat” which would support it was “novel”. But, now you seem to have changed your mind in that it’s not enough to be just a novel idea – it has to be a “major breakthrough”.

“Neat” is hardly novel. And by “truly novel” I meant a breakthrough idea. I don’t see how that’s inconsistent.

Tell me this: do you really think that one company should have the right to tell other companies how they present search URLs?

Prior Art Standardized says:

ISINDEX

http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/interact/forms.html#h-17.8

The only way this differs in that ISINDEX gets submitted with the input field after a question mark (which acutally makes sense, you’re “asking” for documents that match). I wonder how many old scripts that used ISINDEX actually cared about the question mark and just parsed REQUEST_URI or one of the other variables passed via CGI.

Max Powers at http://ConsumerFight.com (user link) says:

Exactly on the money

This type of crap pisses me off. There must be a conspiracy going on hatched by the lawyers that can’t seem to get any regular business anymore.

Maybe the lawyers are extorting the companies they work for by bringing up every little thing that might damage the company so they can assure themselves of always having a job.

Remember, there are too many lawyers in the U.S. so they have to be creative to stay employed.

the-information-is-in-the-title (user link) says:

Improprietary Art

Follow the link to the patent, and you will find a list of referenced previous patents. Some of these read to me as remarkably obvious.

It turns out the patent was approved in the past week, though it was filed in 2004. Any list of prior art should look to before then.

I would like to become part of any organization to create a thousand points of scorn for many of these technology patents. If anyone knows of such a group or website, I would like to hear about–foolish patent hitlist.

Ted Brown says:

Prior Art?

A long time ago (way before 2004), I set up a system where every HTTP request was analyzed by the 404 error script. This allowed use of all characters, and URLs like “http://tspace.cx/poetry,Bad Poetry” would actually resolve, because the 404 page would interpret the string, look for patterns, and display the appropriate page.

This sounds suspiciously like the system described here, only without the emphasis on search…

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