Amazon Patents System to Block Bad Gifts Before They Arrive

Tuesday, Dec 28, 2010  |  Updated 12:45 PM PDT
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Amazon Patents System to Block Bad Gifts Before They Arrive

A lump of coal is the last gift you want for the holidays.

Returning all those duplicate copies of Avatar (you wanted five, right?) and pairs of underwear may be a lot easier in the future — in fact, returns may be a thing of the past. That is, if Amazon's sorta-dubious-but-we-all-are-horrible-enough-to-use-it patented bad gift interceptor gets put in place by the company.

Of course, Amazon will only be able to stop you from receiving crummy packages from folks who buy from the website. After that, though, the gloves would be off. The feature that will induce the most guilt in you? The patent includes plans for you being able to just put a blanket ban on someone. If you knew of a serial bad gifter, you could just tell Amazon to convert whatever they plan on sending you into gift cards or store credit on the sly. You would sometimes do this without even knowing what you're getting, unless, say, they tossed something to you from a wish list or the like.

That said, you wouldn't have to live with what you've done. Amazon could, at your request, send a Thank You note to the sender letting them know it is (mostly) the thought that counts.

Of course, Amazon's patent could remain just that. The company filed it back in '06, though was finally awarded it last month.

CNN, via GeekSugar

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