has filed a lawsuit alleging that top rival - - copied a patented online-ordering feature that stores billing and shipping information so that customers can avoid multiple mouse-clicking. first offered its one-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 to order to stop using the "copycat feature".

Amazon’s contention is that Barnes & Noble “copied”'s one-click process, dubbed it Express Lane and introduced it on its Web site."

"We believe the suit to be completely without merit and we will vigorously defend our position," spokesman Gus Carlson said today. is a joint venture of German media conglomerate Bertelsmann and Barnes & Noble.