Times To Patent Their Phone Micropayment Scheme

from the *sigh* dept

Ah well. On Wednesday we posted a story about how the Times Online was going to start charging viewers for content. The interesting thing was that they were going to bill them by having visitors put in their phone numbers - and then the charge would show up on the phone bill. Now comes the news that they're trying to patent this system. So, even if they don't make money off of subscription fees, they're hoping to cash out by forcing anyone else who wants to use a similar system to pay them licensing fees. Of course, in 1998 when I was working at an e-commerce company I remember dealing with a company called eCharge, who wanted to set up a billing option that was very similar, using phone numbers instead of credit cards. So, there's probably quite a bit of "prior art" out there.

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