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Patent Fever Rushing to join the patent stampede? Hold on and take a closer look at your business. Smart dotcommers put their patents on one leg at a time.

By Melissa Campanelli

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In case you haven't noticed, patent fever has taken over thedotcom world. not long ago, made headlines when it wasawarded a patent for its "One-Click" technology, aprocess that allows online shoppers to purchase goods with a singlemouse click. With patent in hand, can now prohibitcompetitors and others from using the technology-or cancharge them to do so.'s not the only one doing, a Web site based in New York City thatoffers information about intellectual property issues, estimates 57percent more new Internet-related U.S. patents were granted in 2000than in 1997 and 1998 combined.

Patents can make fortunes for companies, as they give theirholders the right to preclude others from making, using or sellingtheir inventions. When it comes to the Net biz, patents can applyto everything from technologies and products to businessprocesses-or all the above in a single patent.

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