sometimes it feels like it’s all-amazon-all-the-time around here. or at least all-intellectual-property-issues- all-the-time. hi. ho. i guess it’s what’s on my mind. anyway, amazon’s ceo, jeff bezos, has weighed in on the protest with a modest proposal that doesn’t really change anything, while cleverly shifting the burden on the patent and trademark office:

“Despite the call from many thoughtful folks for us to give up our patents unilaterally, I don’t believe it would be right for us to do so. This is my belief even though the vast majority of our competitive advantage will continue to come not from patents, but from raising the bar on things like service, price, and selection — and we will continue to raise that bar. We will also continue to be careful in how we use our patents. Unlike with trademark law, where you must continuously enforce your trademark or risk losing it, patent law allows you to enforce a patent on a case-by-case basis, only when there are important business reasons for doing so.

I also strongly doubt whether our giving up our patents would really, in the end, provide much of a stepping stone to solving the bigger problem.

But I do think we can help. As a company with some high-profile software patents, we’re in a credible position to call for meaningful (perhaps even radical) patent reform. In fact, we may be uniquely positioned to do this. ”

it is amusing that bezos shoots for ‘coolness points’ by plugging the manifesto:

“On an important meta-level, one thing to note is that this episode is a fascinating example of the new world, where companies can have conversations with their customers, and customers can have conversations with their companies. I’ve been saying for 4 years now that, online, the balance of power shifts away from the merchant and toward the customer. This is a good thing. If you haven’t already, read the cluetrain manifesto. If you want the book, well…you can get it at several places online…”

tim o’reilly provides a measured response, commending bezos for his direct engagement of customers. i’m sure newbie dot-com ceo’s everywhere will be happy to know that this is now a rule of the new economy:

“I do want to commend Jeff for listening to his customers. He didn’t just hide behind his lawyers, or a PR spokesperson, but engaged directly, demonstrating that he does understand the new rules of the Internet

while admirable – this is technically incorrect – jeff has mostly talked with tim.

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