Amazon.com just got a patent on electronic gift-giving, GeekWire reports. That makes sense, since gifts are a big part of its business.But the specifics of the invention could spell more patent trouble for Facebook.
Facebook just spent a reported $80 million on Karma Science, the maker of a social gift-giving app. Social gift-giving is a big money-making opportunity for Facebook.
Amazon’s patent lets gift-givers pick a digitally delivered item—and then wait until the recipient downloads it to pay, or cancel payment if they don’t accept the gift. The recipient can also exchange it for another item.
That sounds a lot like how Karma’s app works, at least to our ears.
Lawyers would have to work out whether there’s any actual infringement. But Amazon has aggressively enforced its patent on one-click checkout—even Apple agreed to licence it. And it’s hard to think that Amazon would just let Facebook move in on its gift-giving turf.
Facebook is also facing a big patent action from Yahoo—though new interim Yahoo CEO Ross Levinsohn will likely move to settle that quickly, considering how dependent Yahoo is on Facebook for traffic to its media properties.
Amazon has also partnered with Facebook on some social features. But when it comes to e-commerce ideas, CEO Jeff Bezos doesn’t seem as likely to bend to Mark Zuckerberg.