Tuesday, December 04, 2007

AuctionHelper Granted Cross-Selling Patent!

When it comes to patent applications, after the first paragraph, I start getting a headache over my right eye. I'm a pretty bright guy but can't understand why lawyers take so many words to say so little.

Ina Steiner, posted an article about AuctionHelper being granted a patent for their cross-selling tool AuctionLynx. This patent raises concerns that other Auction Service Providers may be in violation of AuctionHelpers patent. One company that seems directly in the cross-hairs may be Auctiva. They use a similar process to cross-promote items.

In fact, eBay themselves may be in violation of the patent with their cross-selling features, though the language seems to indicate external sources, which would remove any liability on eBay's part. It would take someone who can translate patent language to determine if that is the case and even if they were possibly in violation, we all know how a patent fight with eBay ends up; considering the Buy It Now battle still being waged in the courts.

For you Patent lawyers out there in the Blogosphere, here is a link to the patent application, if you could translate this for me I would appreciate it.

Here is the patent abstract:

A method of promoting for bid or sale of auction items of a seller on an auction site. In an item description of an item available from a seller on the auction site, a pointer is embedded. The pointer points to a related item offered for bid or sale on the auction site. When the user accesses the item description, the auction site causes an access to a facilitating server using the pointer. This, in turn, causes the facilitating server to produce a list of related items available by the same seller on the auction site. The list is presented to the user so that the user can bid on or purchase the related items. In this way, a specific seller's items can be promoted to bidders or purchasers using the auction site.
Now, if it was me I would have said.

A method for presenting a sellers other items for sale in a single auction ad that provides the ability to browse through the other items and click-thru to another ad without leaving the existing ad.

Here is a picture of how AuctionLynx works.

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