Patent Troll Sues Amazon Over Electronic Checkout Service

After slapping Google and PayPal with patent lawsuits, patent troll Purple Leaf is going after Amazon, accusing the e-commerce giant of infringing on its “311 patent” via Amazon’s Payments product. We’ve embedded the complaint below.

According to the complaint, Purple Leaf’s 311 Patent generally relates to methods and system for an electronic transaction based on a receipt having payment remittance information. Purple Leaf maintains that Amazon Payments, the company’s payments platform used by online merchants, infringes upon this patent.

Specifically, the Purple Leaf patent # 7,603,311 B1 covers a business method for conducting electronic transactions and claims to provide a more effective and efficient way to make a payment over the Internet. Oddly, the examples cited in the patent have more to do with paying government fines and utility bills (“traffic ticket, a citation, a utility bill, a court ticket, a court warrant, hospital receipt”) than traditional e-commerce applications like PayPal, Google and Amazon.

As a side note, Amazon holds a number of other patents related to online payment, including its famous one-click payments patent in the U.S. (the company has been denied the intellectual property in Europe).

A few weeks ago, the same company also sued Google over the company’s Google Checkout service and PayPal. And Purple Leaf has filed similar patent lawsuits againts Fiserv, JP Morgan Chase, CitiGroup, American Express Company, PNC Bank and SAP America.

While its unclear if Purple Leaf’s complaint will hold up in court, patent trolls can actually make a business out of suing companies and extracting licensing agreements over the intellectual property. Look at Intellectual Ventures, which has made $2 billion by licensing its patents.