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Amazon Faces Patent Lawsuit Over Instant Search; Google Next?




TechCrunch picks up on an interesting lawsuit just filed.

It appears that MasterObjects is suing Amazon for patent infringement over its use of instant search results. You know what they are; you start typing your search query and then Amazon suggests what you may be trying to find. It looks like this:

Anyway, what’s interesting is that MasterObjects names only Amazon as a defendant. Interesting, because Google, Bing and many others offer instant search results like this. So why aren’t they being named in this lawsuit?

Well, we don’t have official word, and MasterObjects may not want to tip their hand, but I have a theory.

<Queue conspiracy music>

Instant search for Amazon is a nice feature but not an essential part of its business model. Sure, it’s going to fight this lawsuit, but probably not as hard as, say, Google–which lives and dies by its search technology. Amazon will, more than likely, settle this suit because it doesn’t have enough skin in the game. MasterObjects will likely accept some small licensing agreement and the whole world will think this is finished with.

Except, now MasterObjects has a little bit of precedent. Maybe not a legal ruling, but if Amazon caves in anyway–or actually fights and loses–MasterOjects has leverage to take on the big guns. If it had attacked Google from the outset, it would have faced a big ole can of Google legal whoop-ass, without much in the way of ammo of its own. If it can get a victory over Amazon–however small–then it can scare the heck out of Google. Any suit it files will have history to support MasterObjects’ patent claims.

<End conspiracy>

OK, so maybe that’s not what MasterObjects has in mind–maybe that’s just how my sinister mind works. :-)

What are your thoughts on this? Can MasterObjects get a win over Amazon? Will Google and Bing be next? Go!


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  • Ann Williams

    Brilliant sinister thinking. Are you a lawyer in blogger’s clothing?

    • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

      I spent 2+ years working at a law firm. It’s hard to shake off that kind of thinking. ;-)

      • http://www.frankthinking.com Frank Reed

        The insight into the mind of Andy Beal is more interesting than the lawsuit. Lawyer’s office, huh? Hmmmmmm…….