As far as we know at Gilead, this was first covered in the media by the Wall Street Journal:
The fragility of the story, however, is given the rub by a flowchart diagram provided in a subsequent article released by GeekWire:
Eventually, the more astute may determine that the Amazon patent application, if correctly reflected in the diagram presented by GeekWire, relates not to the process of “anticipatory” shipping to specific customers at all, but rather is limited to an order routing process called pre-distribution. This involves the delivery of orders to regional warehouses rather than to customers; and the “anticipated” re-order weighting factor is rather a common place forecasting element of the demand management rubric.
For many seasoned logistics industry veterans, the recall of programmes run by the likes of Sears-Roebuck for many decades will be front of mind, and the shape of the Amazon programme more than familiar.
Given such market wide familiarity with these demand planning techniques, and the related method of the offshore consolidation of orders that are shipped direct to regional warehouse locations, we would be doubtful of the chances of success of such a patent application in any credible legal jurisdiction.
Perhaps, however, the patent application’s limited prospects are a lesser issue. One must also consider Wall Street perceptions and the gains that have been achieved for Amazon’s brand identity.
Meanwhile, some first class wits have engaged this scenario, and we can enjoy their work despite the fragility of the proposition:
Note: Among Gilead Logistic Service’s core competency is the design and implementation of offshore pre-distribution systems.