RealTime IT News

Suit hits Amazon, Target

Two early Internet inventors charged Amazon.com and Target with infringing on their patents.

In a suit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, John Klug and Thad Peterson, doing business as Registrar Systems, claim that Amazon.com's e-commerce technology platform improperly uses their system.

Krug and Peterson received U.S. Patent No. 5,790,785 in 1998 and No. 6,823,327 in 2004. Both related to the storage and registration of information for processing on computers and for use on the Web.

According to the suit, the '785 patent covers a method for registering a user at multiple Web sites by storing the user's information in a databases, and then providing users with identifier that allow access; finally, the system supplies the user ID and the stored information to another Web site.

The '327 patent builds on that idea, among others.

Krug and Peterson could not be reached by telephone, and their attorneys did not respond to a phone message nor e-mails.

In 2002, Target began using Amazon's e-commerce system; it also powers Office Depot, Virgin Entertainment Group, Toysrus.com and Borders.com.

According to the online merchant, visitors to other sites can benefit from Amazon.com's e-commerce technology platform including personalization, product recommendations, search functionality across all stores, 1-Click shopping, and a single checkout for all stores.

Neither Amazon.com nor Target responded to telephone calls requesting comment about the suit.

The suit alleges that Amazon.com shares users' information with many companies, including Bombay Co., Office Depot, Bose, Crutchfield, Nordstrom, Polo, Macy's and Lands' End.

"These are the very activities and abilities that Plaintiff’s patents protect," the complaint said.

The suit asked the court for an immediate injunction to stop the practice. A hearing is set for March 27.