If that were a real patent, GoDaddy would owe Ebay millions.
Not sure if that says more about the patents system or my awakeness, I hope the former.
Mostly because nobody in their right mind would consider that many steps to be a good thing, but still...
"Our checkout process goes to eleven!"
The problem is that there is no real online replacement - the auction space is hard to disrupt because in auctions the largest marketplace is, at face value, the best marketplace.
I know I have gotten to the stage where I will Freecycle something before I sell it on eBay, and from reading the forums out there, I am not the only one.
I had always assumed that eBay couldn't/wouldn't change their UI because their users are not techies and would be more confused by change than the terrible UI they've already learned. Users have learned how to do what they want, even if they don't understand why.
For example, my parents know that to watch DVDs, they need to press button X on remote #1 and then button Y on remote #2. They just don't know why.
It should be a security gateway that prompts the user to get ready for some secure transactions. But it is asked for so many times that it becomes an afterthought, "Oh, eBay is asking for my password again." It asks when you want to view My eBay. It asks when you want to save an item for later. It asks when you place a bid. It asks again when you check out after winning.
Then you get a phishing email, you click a link, it asks for your password. Users give it up without a second thought because they're so used to providing it.
Conversely, Amazon, another site which is very good at separating you from your money, only asks when money is on the line. I can add to Wish Lists without logging in again. I can rate things without logging in again. I can write reviews without logging in again. The only time Amazon asks for my password is when I'm placing an order, or making changes under My Account. And they even have an express lane setup for making orders with PayPhrase, that doesn't ask for my login again, just a PIN.
But not when I just want to watch an item, or see the items I'm watching.
One click and the item is at my house the next day.
Look at the Apple vs HTC case..