In its latest patent, the online retailing giant outlined a method for expanding portions of the ordering form, then collapsing that portion of the form and removing the data fields. The content for that particular section of the form would then be displayed again.
The patent, filed in September 1997 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, also described a method for editing content on the order form and redisplaying the information in the section after the changes have been made, according to a copy of the patent.
In its effort to build a loyal customer base, Amazon is continually tweaking its technology to make its Web site easier to use and to expand its range of offerings. Like many companies, Amazon has been building a patent portfolio to cover products and services it's poured money into developing and from which it expects to profit.
Last May, Amazon wasfor a system that allows customers to preorder a used item from an unspecified seller, even if that item isn't yet offered by anyone else on the site.
Amazon representatives were not immediately available for comment.