Adding an extra step, even if it is just a pop-up or confirmation page, has huge negative consequences. At every step of the purchase process users drop out (it’s a significant percentage) and now companies have to choose between paying Amazon for 1-click or adding an extra step and losing a significant amount of sales....In my opinion, this is a particularly bad patent that sets a very bad precedent. Purchasing something with one-click does not pass muster for being non-obvious. If businesses are allowed to patent every little idea they come up with, this will have a tremendous stifling effect on innovation. Imagine if you could get a patent on things such as:
An interesting side-effect is that ebook stores and ereaders that want to increase purchases (by making them convenient) will have to give Amazon a share of their revenue. It’s hard to beat a competitor on price when they make money every time your customers do a 1-click purchase.
- Printing text on a piece of paper.
- Selling things in buildings.
- Selling two things together in the same package.
- Sending communication electronically.
- Selling things on the Internet.
- Painting something the color green.
There is a whole body of law supporting awarding patents for technological innovation, but not much that I am aware of for protecting business methods. By suddenly awarding these kinds of intellectual property protections, the Patent Office is creating a system that is almost sure to stifle innovation and an incentive for large companies to patent every tiny idea they have. In the long run, that's bad for everybody.