Amazon & Google sued over search result auto-complete

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MasterObjects, a company that offers solutions to provide immediate search results and suggestions to web users based on the search strings they type, has sued Google and Amazon for infringing their auto-complete search patent. Very simply when you start to type a search query many websites do their best to auto-complete the search and offer you suggestions which you can click to find the item you’re looking for faster.

Amazon was sued first and that’s been followed by a suit against Google. However these two cases may be the tip of the iceberg, as a raft of other companies including household names such as eBay, Apple, Microsoft and Yahoo all use the same auto-complete search suggestions.

This will be an interesting case, although the patent was filed in 2004 it was granted on 6th July 2010 and covers the technology which allows Web servers to act on string input on a per character basis, thus enabling intelligent auto-completion and complex lookups using server side data. The possible outcomes, if MasterObjects win their lawsuits, are licensing deals or the removal and redesign of how websites return search results to their users.

One Response

  1. Yet another overly-broad software patent. Things like this shouldn’t be allowed to be patented. It’s getting ridiculous. Pretty soon you won’t be able to code anything without infringing some silly patent.

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