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Site pays up for spoiled patents

BountyQuest, an online bulletin board where companies post rewards for information that could dismiss competitors' patents, said Tuesday it has given four $10,000 rewards in the three months since its inception. The Web site was founded by Amazon.com chief executive Jeff Bezos and O'Reilly & Associates founder Tim O'Reilly after the two disagreed publicly over Amazon's 1-Click patent, which allows processing an order with a single click. The site asks for proof that an invention, or idea, had already been conceived. If so-called prior art is found, then the patent is generally dismissed. Prior art has been found to refute four patents: Online music sampling, alterable admission tickets, an Oracle patent on database copying and a single-chip network router. Prior art to disprove Amazon's 1-Click technology, however, has not been found.

BountyQuest, an online bulletin board where companies post rewards for information that could dismiss competitors' patents, said Tuesday it has given four $10,000 rewards in the three months since its inception. The Web site was founded by Amazon.com chief executive Jeff Bezos and O'Reilly & Associates founder Tim O'Reilly after the two disagreed publicly over Amazon's 1-Click patent, which allows processing an order with a single click.

The site asks for proof that an invention, or idea, had already been conceived. If so-called prior art is found, then the patent is generally dismissed. Prior art has been found to refute four patents: Online music sampling, alterable admission tickets, an Oracle patent on database copying and a single-chip network router. Prior art to disprove Amazon's 1-Click technology, however, has not been found.