Amazon's "one-click patent" has been one of the rallying points for those who feel that software and business model patents are truly problematic. In 2001, the patent was challenged through BountyQuest, but that challenge was rejected
by the patent office. In 2005, however, a guy in New Zealand began his own quest to invalidate
the patent, successfully convincing the patent office to review
the patent based on new prior art he had turned up. While there was a setback
last month, when a 3-judge panel questioned an examiner's ruling that many of the claims should have been rejected as obvious, it appears that the prior art has now been found much more convincing. The patent office has now issued an initial rejection of 21 of 26 claims in the patent
. Of course, while some are already celebrating this win, the case is far from over. As we've seen many times before
, the early rejections from the patent office don't necessarily mean all that much, as the patent holder has a chance to respond and many things can happen before the validity of the patent is finally established. Still, it's certainly better than the patent office sticking by the original patent completely.