Can Amazon's One-Click Patent (Granted In 1999) Infringe On A Patent Granted In 2004?
from the just-asking dept
Here's where things get a bit more interesting. The article does not give a patent number, but does give a basic description of the patent and the year it was issued, which suggests it is this patent on Object-based on-line transaction infrastructure (which was issued to the same company that's suing, though under a different name). Reading through the patent is a chore, as it's even less clear than most patents these days. However, hidden in all the confusing language, it seems to describe a system where a centralized computer system can transfer metadata to another computer, keeping it updated, so that it can be used to automate certain transactions.
Seen that way, you could see where it might run into some overlapping territory with the 1-click patent. Except... Amazon's patent was issued in 1999. This patent was issued in 2004. So, it's difficult to see how how the system invented five years earlier could infringe on the later invention -- though, it's certainly possible Amazon has changed how one-click works during the years, so that the newer system infringes. Alternatively, the newer patent notes that it is a continuation of certain earlier patents -- so perhaps that's how they get around the date issue (though, this sounds an awful lot like the tricks Jerome Lemelson was accused of pulling to update old patents to cover new products on the market, which eventually resulted in his controversial patents being invalidated by the courts). Either way, it would be nice to see more details -- but the initial facts surrounding the case seem to raise a lot more questions than they answer. Here's hoping that Tim Lee over at the Tech Liberation Front will give this patent a thorough review in his weekly software patent review.