"Click" war may have erupted as filed a lawsuit alleging top rival copied a patented online ordering feature that stores billing and shipping information so that customers can avoid multiple mouse clicking. started offering its 1-Click feature in September 1997. A patent on the feature was issued last month. The online retailer of books, music and videos wants the US District Court in Seattle to order to stop using the "copycat feature," according to a written statement today from about the patent-infringement lawsuit.

"We believe the suit to be completely without merit and we will vigorously defend our position," spokesman Gus Carlson said., which launched on the Web in May 1997, isn't issuing any comments beyond that standard statement, Carlson said. is a joint venture of German media conglomerate Bertelsmann AG and Barnes & Noble.

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