Web Systems Design, Litigation, and Online Consumer Behavior

Web Systems Design, Litigation, and Online Consumer Behavior

Cherie Ann Sherman
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-945-8.ch039
(Individual Chapters)
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This chapter discusses recent court decisions, important to both Web site developers and corporations that restrict the software techniques that a developer may use, without legal liability for infringement. It demonstrates that e-commerce may be threatened by patents that have been recently awarded for long-existing software techniques and business methods, which are vital to the operation of most sites. The author explains that some software patents and business method patents were awarded in error because lack of a database of existing software made it difficult for patent examiners to identify whether an invention was truly new. Government and industry have taken steps to create a database of existing software and to adopt more rigorous standards for awarding these patents, which should help alleviate this problem. Nevertheless, the author contends that ultimately, consumers will experience less variety on the Web, as corporations become more aggressive in patenting Web-related inventions and asserting those patents against infringing Web sites. The author hopes to convey the benefits of conducting a legal audit for each Web site.

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