Amazon.com’s “Subscribe and Save” program is the subject of a federal lawsuit filed today by research firm Walker Digital. The patent at issue is US Patent No. 5,970,470 generally related to sales methods. According to the complaint, Amazon infringes at least two of the 115 claims that cover the various sales methods covered by the patent. “Subscribe and Save” is described by Amazon as a way for customers to save money on purchases by automatically receiving common household items at regular intervals.
Walker Digital’s patent claims a sales method involving storing data in a table identifying buyers, products, and agreements between the buyers and sellers to purchase a certain amount of products within a period of time. Amazon’s program similarly provides customers with the ability to purchase items and set delivery schedules to have the items periodically purchased and delivered automatically.
This is the fifth lawsuit Walker Digital has filed against Amazon in the past month over various e-commerce technology, including patents dealing with group discounts, providing cross-benefits and product bundling. When the previous four lawsuits were filed, Walker Digital CEO Jon Ellenthal said “Filing these lawsuits is not a step we sought or preferred. We have reached out to a wide range of companies that are engaging in commercial activities that clearly depend on inventions created and owned by Walker Digital. Unfortunately, many of these companies have refused to engage in meaningful negotiations that acknowledge the market value they derive from the use of our property.”
Amazon is no stranger to patent lawsuits. In 1999, the internet retail giant sued bookseller Barnes & Noble for infringing Amazon’s Patent No. 5,960,411 related to a “single-action ordering component” (colloquially referred to as the Amazon “One-Click” Patent). Apple licensed the One-Click Patent in 2000 to provide one-click ordering for the iTunes store. In 2006, the USPTO confirmed patentability of certain claims of the one-click patent, and required Amazon to amend others.
The complaint is embedded below:
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