Thoughtful, detailed coverage of the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, plus the best-selling Take Control ebooks. Awarded Affiliate Program Patent Awarded Affiliate Program Patent -- On 22-Feb-00, the United States Patent and Trademark Office awarded a patent (applied for in Jun-97) covering the concept of affiliate programs for merchant Web sites. (Affiliate programs pay the owners of other Web sites for referring business to the merchant site.) The company's " Associates" program allows Web site owners to register for the program, then provide either an search feature, or links to specific books or other products sold by, on their site. then pays a commission on any sales that result from users following those links, such as happens with the TidBITS BookBITS page. The patent (number 6,029,141) theoretically gives the company the right to stop other merchant Web sites from using affiliate programs unless they pay a licensing fee.

< pn=US06029141__> has previously been awarded patents on its "One-Click" ordering system and its approach to refining user searches by suggesting possibly related products. Other online merchants and Web sites have expressed dismay at the awarding of these patents on seemingly obvious Internet techniques that many sites have already implemented. [MHA]

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