August 17, 2006

In a U.S. patent application made public last week, an invention by Amazon.com regarding user-defined “gift clusters” discloses several methods for creating and ordering such gift clusters. U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2006/0178946, entitled “Providing gift clustering functionality to assist a user in ordering multiple items for a recipient,” was filed on Dec 9, 2005 and includes 37 claims for methods and computer-readable media regarding the gift cluster technology. The first method claim of the application claims a “method for ordering multiple items defined by a user as a group using a client system” comprising “displaying information identifying multiple items previously defined by a user to be a group, and displaying an indication of an action that is to be performed to order the user-defined group of multiple items; and in response to the indicated action being performed, sending to a server computer a request to order the user-defined group of multiple items.” In one embodiment of the invention, a user may name the particular gift cluster, and may choose to include information including but not limited to the recipients, education and income levels, genders, ages, races and ethnicities, religions, occupations, and sexual orientations. According to the patent, once “one [or] more gift clusters have been created, such gift[] clusters can be used for purchasing multiple items for a recipient as a group.” According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Amazon.com does not appear to have any immediate plans to implement this patent-pending technology. This patent application is a continuation of an earlier application filed in 2000 and issued as U.S. Patent No. 6,999,941 earlier this year.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer News Article: LINK
U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2006/0178946: LINK
U.S. Patent No. 6,999,941: LINK
CNET Media Blog Article: LINK

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Mark Reichel
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I am a patent attorney with Reichel IP LLC, where I concentrate my practice on patent drafting and prosecution, trademarks, and general intellectual property matters. I currently focus on the preparation and prosecution of medical device and other life sciences patent applications, and being actively involved in a number of local not-for-profit organizations.

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