Amazon has developed an arsenal of patents over the years and this is unlikely to change with 500 more pending at the moment.
The company’s recent focus is on augmented reality, video and the smart home. All these patents may not necessarily transform into products or services but historically Amazon has filed some notable patents that have given it an edge over competitors. The company’s patent for one-click shopping for example, gave it an advantage over other retailers and brought in loads of money through licensing fees before it expired last year. That patent, issued in 1999, lets customers buy things in one click of the button without re-entering their shipping or billing information.
This past December, Amazon was given a patent for a “smart” sensor-packed package delivery air vehicle in line with its envisaged drone delivery system. In the same month it was issued with a patent for technology that would enhance user privacy on the Echo’s video mode through pixelization. Other patents obtained include one for detecting hacked autonomous cars and another for an augmented reality mirror.
The augmented reality mirror allows users to use a variety of backgrounds with cameras and lights to try on clothes virtually. This will come in handy as the retail giant gets into fashion.
Its patent on technology to detect hacked autonomous cars could be licensed to third parties such as Uber Tesla or Alphabet who are already leaders in the field of self-driving cars. The technology on pixelization will help users to mute the video on their Echo devices when video conferencing through image blurring.
Amazon obtained patents related to cloud computing early on which has made it difficult for late entrants like Google and Microsoft to compete giving the company a huge lead. Now that cloud computing has become a mainstream adoption, Amazon’s cloud computing unit, AWS, is now a leader in its field and the company’s most profitable division.
Amazon has been amassing this huge compilation of patents since the dotcom bubble and hasn’t stopped. Today the company has over 6,000 patents and counting under its wings giving it an dvantage that no other company among the Fortune 500 can match.