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RealTime IT News

One Settlement Over One-Click

Online retailing giant Amazon.com and rival bookseller Barnes & Noble.com Inc. have settled a patent infringement lawsuit over the technology behind the one-click checkout system for Internet shoppers.

The action was begun back in 1999 when Seattle-based Amazon sued B&N, alleging that its checkout technology, which allows customers store their credit card and shipping information for faster purchasing, had been infringed.

Although Amazon.com filed with the patent office in 1997, and was issued a patent in 1999, findings by two independent searches later showed that examples of the technology were cited before the company opened its doors for business.

Both Amazon and New York City-based B&N.com said the terms of the settlement were confidential, according to published reports. "We're pleased to put this matter behind us," an Amazon spokeswoman was quoted as saying.

The filing of the suit prompted complaints from critics of "business method" patents, which skeptics deride as overly broad and unoriginal concepts that abuse the patent system and stifle innovation, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. One-click, in particular, was seen by some as little more than a simple combination of existing Web technologies.