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1 click away… from the public domain

In a few weeks (September 11, to be exact), Amazon’s “1-Click” checkout patent will expire.

The tech allows a user to go from the product page to the order confirmation page instantaneously, without entering payment info manually every time — and its expiration is actually a huge deal in ecommerce.

20 years in the Amazon

When Amazon first filed for the 1-Click patent back in 1997, the technology of one-click checkout wasn’t anything special. As Quartz writes, it was a system “any novice programmer could code.”

Amazon simply won the race to the patent office — and for 20 years, it’s paid off for them in a very big way. They’ve licensed it to only one company, Apple, which has paid a princely annual sum to license the tech for use in its online store and iTunes app.

Amazon’s aggressively gone after other online retailers who use their own versions of one-click checkouts without permission.

Open market

Until now, 1-Click has been one of Amazon’s biggest advantages — some analysts even claim the technology is partly to thank for the retailer’s massive growth, as customers more likely to make repeat purchases on a streamlined platform.

In anticipation of Amazon’s patent expiration, Google and other major tech companies are already developing their own one-click tech, meaning soon, there’s about to be a whole bunch of new places to accidentally purchase that box set of Nicolas Cage movies.