Latest Amazon Lawsuit Hypocritical?

Last Thursday, filed suit against in U.S. District Court, alleging that its online book-selling rival illegally copied and implemented a patented shopping feature.

This legal action comes only a week after filed a similar suit against software giant Microsoft Corp., claiming that Microsoft’s Internet travel service subsidiary violated priceline’s name-your-own-price hotel reservation patent.

Both companies’ suits are centered around patent infringement, but is trying to get an immediate and permanent court-ordered halt to’s use of a copycat version of its 1-Click feature.

Patent Granted Last Month officials said that the patent on this feature, which allows customers to shop without having to re-enter their shipping and billing information every time they buy, was just granted last month.

In a statement, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos cried foul. “We spent thousands of hours to develop our 1-Click process, and the reason we have a patent system in this country is to encourage people to take these kinds of risks and make these kinds of investments for customers,” Bezos said.

No Sympathy For Bezos

Last week, in this very space, I expressed sympathy for with the proviso that the patent infringement charges against Microsoft be upheld in court.

But I don’t feel one bit sorry for


Amazon is the same company that finally settled out of court in April after being sued by retailing giant Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. for stealing its trade secrets.

In Wal-Mart’s suit, it alleged that had recruited its employees and business partners in order to copy the discount chain’s computer system.

The Settlement

In response, filed a counter-suit, accusing Wal-Mart of inhibiting its employees’ ability to look for work elsewhere. However, according to published reports, agreed to reassign at least one former Wal-Mart employee as part of an out of court settlement. Additionally, it limited the job responsibilities of the other former Wal-Mart employees it had hired.

Still, the thing that really grabbed me about the settlement was that Amazon agreed to have those employees return any Wal-Mart property they still had. No matter how innocent they may be of Wal-Mart’s accusations, it just didn’t look good.

Amazon Protests Too Much

The fact of the matter is that the Wal-Mart settlement speaks so loudly, it’s difficult to hear the words Bezos is mouthing.

After all, how can he blame other companies for trying to acquire and use its successful techniques if has appeared to have done much the same?

Isn’t that called hypocrisy?

What do you think? Let’s talk about it.

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