Amazon files for Web services patent

Company seeks a patent for an online marketplace where consumers can search and pay for Web services.

A correction was made to this story. Read below for details.
Amazon.com has received a public airing of its patent application for an online marketplace where consumers search and pay for Web services.

The patent application, filed last year and published Thursday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, marks the online retailing giant's latest attempt to make inroads into consumers' wallets.

Amazon, in its latest filing, is seeking to patent its idea for creating a marketplace where third-party Web services providers can link up with consumers.

In the marketplace, consumers can search for Web services and read comments and reviews from others who have used the service. Amazon can also provide the suppliers of these services with assurances that only authorized consumers can access their offerings.

"Although Web services allow various applications and computers to interact, the current implementations and uses of Web services have various problems," Amazon said in its filing. "Current Web services implementations do not typically provide effective means for potential consumers to discover or locate Web services that are desired or that may be of interest."

Amazon also notes its marketplace technology seeks to address the lack of easy-to-use methods for collecting consumers' Web services payments, as well as to provide Web services companies with ways to manage and monitor their offerings.

In its role as an intermediary for the marketplace, Amazon would collect a fee from companies providing the service. In its filing, Amazon notes that after receiving a customer's payment for a third-party Web service, it will provide "at least some of the obtained payment for the subscriptions to the third-party Web services provider that registered the...service."

In March, Amazon was granted a U.S. patent for "Methods and systems of assisting users in purchasing items," including the use of gift-buying habits to determine the age, gender and birthday of gift recipients.

 
Correction: This story incorrectly reported the status of Amazon's patent application. The application was published Thursday; it had been filed last year.
 

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