E-commerce patents for sale; Come and get em

Summary:An auction house said Monday that it'll auction several patents covering e-commerce procedures and privacy protection. Ocean Tomo said it will hold its Spring 2007 Live Intellectual Property Auction on April 19.

An auction house said Monday that it'll auction several patents covering e-commerce procedures and privacy protection.

Ocean Tomo said it will hold its Spring 2007 Live Intellectual Property Auction on April 19.

And you wonder why we have patent trolls.

Ocean Tomo, which started auctioning intellectual property in 2004, says it will auction patents relating to "online protection of private consumer information, centralized online management of personal information, online ordering of goods and services, online consumer feedback and ratings applications, and management of credit card accounts for online purchases."

Simply put, Ocean Tomo has found a great niche. Folks can acquire these patents, create a shell company and sue everyone. You'd think Ocean Tomo would be a little more low key about the patent troll encouragement. Nope. From Ocean Tomo's statement announcing the auction:

"In light of some of the recent high profile IP related litigation involving such world-renowned companies as eBay, Amazon, Google and others, we recognize that demand for broad patents in this area should generate a high level of interest," said Andrew T. Ramer, President of Ocean Tomo Auctions. "We believe the public live auction format is ideal for the sale of such properties as bidders remain completely anonymous throughout the process, and interested parties can acquire high-quality patents without publicly revealing their strategic initiatives."

Translation: Let's go trolling. Here are some of the e-commerce lots available and links to the patents.

  • Lot 6 includes US Patent 6,957,229 and covers "Systems for Efficiently and Flexibly Managing Personal Information."
  • Lot 7 includes US Patent 6,549,888 "Systems for Bonding the Accuracy of Information Obtained from a Network Server."
  • Lot 8  includes patents 6,269,349 and 6,839,689, which cover "Systems for Providing Financial Assurances for Internet Transactions Involving Unknown Parties."
  • Lot 9 includes patent 6,356,874 and covers "Computer-Based System for Ordering Goods and Services Via the Internet."
  • Lot 10 includes patent 7,065,494 and covers "System for Online Dispute Resolution or Managing Consumer Feedback."
  • Lot 11 includes patent 6,879,965 and covers "System for Managing User Accounts for Secure Online Commerce."

Those patents sound just vague enough to sue just about every e-commerce company. Patent trolls start your engines.

Topics: Patents

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.