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It may seem counterintuitive to Texas consumers that online retailing giant Amazon would want to keep customers from comparing prices while they stop at brick and mortar stores. However, the company is moving parts of its business into traditional retail stores. Could this be why Amazon decided to use patent law to keep consumers from finding a better price online?

Amazon has undoubtedly benefited from customers being able to check prices on its website while standing in a physical store owned by another retailer. Despite this, the company recently received a patent for the technology needed to accomplish this goal. The CEO of Amazon looked into obtaining this technology several years ago before the online retailer decided to move into brick and mortar locations.

On the other hand, obtaining a patent for this technology gives Amazon some recourse against other companies who attempt to use this technology against Amazon. The patent is for technology that allows a retailer's Wi-Fi to intercept searches of its customers for similar products while in the store. Several courses of action could then be taken by the retailer such as offering a coupon for the product, a price match or some other incentive for the customer to purchase the item from the store where he or she is currently shopping instead of buying the product online.

It could be said that Amazon is making a clever use of patent law by heading off any competitors who may consider using the same technology. In some cases, Texas tech inventors may also consider such an action in order to protect themselves not only from someone else using their patented technology, but also from taking their business. Only time will tell if this particular technology will find its way into stores -- and possibly the courts.

Source: techcrunch.com, "Amazon, now a physical retailer too, is granted an anti-showrooming patent", Sarah Perez, June 16, 2017

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