Amazon.com chief executive officer Jeff Bezos didn’t attend last week’s AffiliateForce 2000 conference in Miami Beach, as planned. Bezos had signed up for the meeting, but backed out because, a company spokeswoman said, “he’s about to become a father and needs his calendar open.”

But it’s possible Bezos wouldn’t have received a very warm welcome from some of the Internet companies at the conference. That’s because Amazon.com has recently received two patents for affiliate programs, a move that has stirred up Internet retailers who fear that the U.S. Patent Office is flipping the whole infrastructure of e-commerce upside down. With the patents, the Internet retail giant can now sue companies that use similar affiliate programs.

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