Thursday, May 19, 2011

The "buy now" button, part 2

Similar to Amazon's patent on the "buy now" button - also known as the "One Click" patent - is a patent on in-app purchases. You know those apps for your smartphone, where you download a "demo" (usually with limited functionality) and later choose to purchase the full version of the app? There's a patent on that idea.

And they are suing developers who have included this feature in their iPhone apps.

Patent 7,222,078 describes a method that seems too abstract to summarize adequately. Here's the abstract:
Methods and systems for gathering information from units of a commodity across a network

Abstract
In an exemplary system, information is received at a central location from different units of a commodity. The information is generated from two-way local interactions between users of the different units of the commodity and a user interface in the different units of the commodity. The interactions elicit from respective users their perceptions of the commodity.
Seems pretty vague to me. The salient point for iPhone developers seems to be around Claim 24:
24. The system of claim 1 wherein the two-way local interactions comprise a transaction for sale of a product or a service contract for the commodity.
As far as I can tell, that's what Lodsys is using as they sell licenses for in-app "buy" buttons.

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