Haven't warehouses been setting inventory levels based on past sales... forever? They believe this is inventive because they're putting items together in a package at the first warehouse instead of the last? The reason most companies don't do that is that it results in the inefficient shipping of individual items vs. those packaged in bulk.
Even if no one else were already doing it, which I doubt, I don't see how this is novel or non-obvious enough to warrant protection via a patent.
What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?
I sort of see your point and agree, 3vi1 but apparently the USPTO thinks it was novel enough.
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But that is the same patent office that thought rectangles with rounded corners (http://www.google.com/patents/USD670286) is novel, and swinging sideways (https://www.google.com/patents/US6368227) is worthy of patent protection.
I'm pretty sure they just rubberstamp everything now, which ends up forcing a company that gets sued down the road to pay litigation fees while the patent undergoes re-evaluation.
I see nothing about the Amazon patent that would not be thoroughly obvious to another company, if the method were to actually work for them. And I would almost bet my left arm that there's some form of prior art.
Amazon has proven to be a "bad citizen" when it comes to patents on obvious and pre-existing business methods (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1-Click), and should be given more scrutiny when filing for new ones.
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