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Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), Apple Inc. (AAPL): Used Digital Goods Sales Patents

Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) had been rumored to be working on the concept of a used digital-goods marketplace, giving consumers a chance to buy e-books, video and music that has already been used by other consumers. But we know what you’re thinking – how does that work? Used books are on thing, but how can a series of zeroes and ones be considered used? So far, there’s no evidence that users can dog-ear an e-book.  That isn’t to say some users won’t try.

At any rate, the two major tech companies have apparently each received patents for their own versions of a used-good digital marketplace in which original buyers of licensed material can sell that material to other consumers. There is a significant differences in how each concept works, which is why both companies got patents. But the question may arise: What would be the necessity of buying an e-book or digital music new when it can be bought used?

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)It’s about scarcity. With the Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) used-goods concept, there would not be a seemingly infinite supply of used goods available in the marketplace, as the marketplace would be populated by users with goods to sell. A user would give up its license to the Amazon marketplace, and tha license would be sold to another user. The limited number of users giving up their licenses would give the marketplace the scarcity it would need to keep the prices competitive with the new-goods marketplace.

With the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) patent, unlike the centralized used-good bazaar at Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), the Apple marketplace will allow or transactions directly between buyer and seller. In an example, an iBookstore user could buy an e-book, then decide later to sell it to another consumer. With the Apple concept, the intended seller only has to notify Apple of the intent to sell, and Apple could then grant permission for the seller to transfer the digital rights to the content to the buyer. The content itself may not need to leave the seller’s hard drive, but the seller will not be able to access that content once he license is sold.

What are you thoughts about this used-goods digital marketplace? Can this be a successful new idea for Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) or Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

DISCLOSURE: I own no positions in any stock mentioned.

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