Several write-ups under this node make the common mistake of asserting that intellectual property law applies to "ideas." One of the first points made in virtually all works that deal in practical terms with the laws related to intellectual property is this:
An idea cannot be protected by patent, trademark or copyright.
Only the unique expression of that idea can be protected.
And having acquired a legal right to defend and protect from unauthorized copying your own particular, singular expression of an idea (or combination of ideas) does not give the property owner any legal right to prevent others from expressing the same idea in forms that may not be terribly different from the form the first author/inventor devised, so long as it is more than trivially different in how it goes about expressing the ideas it contains.
If intellectual property were to protect ideas, virtually all products would be instant monopolies, at least for the life of their patents, and one would probably need permission from the owners of dictionary copyrights in order to use words at all.
One company would sell all chickens. Perhaps one company would have the sole right, in fact, to sell anything. given that the notion of "selling" is itself an idea.
While some jokingly contend that this is in fact Amazon.com's business plan, it is unlikely that Amazon would be allowed to overturn centuries of settled law and precedent for its sole benefit, no matter what short-term benefit they may enjoy for as long as they can defend their highly-suspect "one-click" patent.
That said, there certainly can be instances (of which Amazon's patent practices are just one example) where an intellectual property owner with a large store of capital, and the will to litigate could effectively silence less wealthy competitors merely through the threat of infringement suits and costly litigation, even when such a legal maneuvers may prove baseless in material fact. Abuses of the patent system in this vein have been alleged for decades, and those allegations are probably quite well-grounded.
Please note: This node was written before the advent of the legal nightmare I consider the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to be and does not really deal with it in any detail, as my working experience has largely (so far) not required me to understand or do much detailed research on the DMCA. All I can fairly say is that most of what I've read about it, and what I've seen of it in action makes me very sad about the future.