In an interesting attempt to hoist Amazon.com on its own petard, the InTouch Group filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California March 31 against Amazon.com and four other companies for allegedly infringing its patents for online music sampling (InTouch Group Inc. v. Amazon.Com Int’l Inc., N.D. Calif., CA No. 001156, filed 3/31/00).

InTouch’s Chairman and CEO Joshua Kaplan announced the filing on April 14 and took pains to emphasize the irony of naming Amazon as a co-defendant. “This is a particularly egregious infringement on the part of Amazon.com,” Kaplan said in a statement. “This past fall, Amazon.com filed a patent infringement suit against Barnesandnoble.com relating to its ’1-click’ technology and received injunctive relief six weeks. Jeff Bezos [Amazon's CEO] was quoted in the press as stating, ‘We spent thousands of dollars to develop our 1-Click process, and the reason we have a patent system in this country is to encourage people to take these kinds of risks and make these kinds of investments.’ Apparently, Amazon.com’s modus operandi is to ‘Do as I say, not as I do,’” Kaplan said.

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