How Hard Is It To Realize That One-Click Buying Doesn't Deserve A Patent?

from the let-it-go-already dept

For many, many, many years, Amazon's clearly ridiculous one-click patent has been exhibit number one in a patent system gone mad. And yet... the USPTO and Amazon cling to it. After some earlier challenges at the beginning of the last decade went nowhere, in 2005, an actor/blogger dug up some prior art that resulted in the USPTO reconsidering, and finally, the USPTO realized that maybe a patent on single-click buying didn't make sense. But, for some reason, Amazon and Jeff Bezos (who a decade ago was a founder of a project to bust bogus patents) have aggressively fought to keep the patent alive. And so we've now entered the fifth year of the review process, which seems to involve some rather annoyed USPTO patent examiners, who are fed up with what appears to be Amazon simply dumping busywork on the examiners to avoid a final rejection of the patent. So, not only is the one-click patent a great example of how patents that never should have been granted still get granted, but it's also demonstrating the ridiculous lengths to which one must go to invalidate a bad patent.


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  1.  
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    Simon Dallow, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 12:13am

    Absurd Patents

    Many patents are absurd. Quite a few are wrongly attributed (A.G.Bell?) This is unsurprising since, mostly, patent authourities are job creation schemes for those who understand the technology but couldn't be bothered to do it.

     

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  2.  
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    Amazon Buyer, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 12:34am

    is it even really that lucrative

    I buy a ton of junk at Amazon and I have never even considered using the one-click.

     

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  3.  
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    Alan Gerow (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 7:17am

    I actually worked at BountyQuest for about 4 months at the end of '00. It was an interesting company, never quite got anything really going.

     

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  4.  
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    Flakey, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 7:58am

    I think we can all agree that both the copyright laws and the patent laws need some serious rewriting.

    Amazon's one click is no more deserving of protection than is IBM getting one for taking a ticket with a number to know when to be served. They're both absurd and they both have been done before so prior art will cancel it, provided it makes it to reconsideration.

     

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  5.  
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    AdamR (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 9:18am

    How many millions do you think they have spent on this so far?

     

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  6.  
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    The Mad (Patent) Prosecutor, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 9:38am

    When will the pain end . . .

    Right, the clearly ridiculous patent that no one, at least thus far, has been able to invalidate despite spending tens of thousands of dollars (or perhaps a lot more) to invalidate. A rational person might conclude such was evidence of "nonridiculousness." But, then, we're talking the average techdirt reader, rather than a rational person . . .

    With no disrespect (really), it is painful to read these articles and comments on patents. I don't know much about computers, IT, etc. So, when I read these articles and comments on patents, it is as painful to me as it would be to you (gentle reader) if I wrote an article on how computers work, and described ants traveling through hollow tubes (wires) carrying zeros and ones.

     

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  7.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 10:34am

    Re: When will the pain end . . .

    Right, the clearly ridiculous patent that no one, at least thus far, has been able to invalidate despite spending tens of thousands of dollars (or perhaps a lot more) to invalidate.

    Hmm. And yet the USPTO examiners have repeatedly rejected claims in the patent. Are you ignoring that?

    A rational person might conclude such was evidence of "nonridiculousness." But, then, we're talking the average techdirt reader, rather than a rational person . . .

    When you have no real argument, resort to insults.

    With no disrespect (really), it is painful to read these articles and comments on patents. I don't know much about computers, IT, etc. So, when I read these articles and comments on patents, it is as painful to me as it would be to you (gentle reader) if I wrote an article on how computers work, and described ants traveling through hollow tubes (wires) carrying zeros and ones.

    Ok. Simple question: do you honestly believe that the process for ordering a product online with a single click is non-obvious and deserving of a monopoly right?

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 12:02pm

    Bogus

    ...Jeff Bezos (who a decade ago was a founder of a project to bust bogus patents)...

    Heh. Yeah, *other people's* bogus patents.

     

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  9.  
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    Alan Gerow (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Bogus

    It's funny because at the time Jeff Bezos recognized that the One-Click Patent was ridiculous, and even used it as an example of what's wrong with the patent system. But that hasn't stopped him from defending it vigorously at using it to sue competitors.

     

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  10.  
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    Spanky, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 5:16pm

    re

    I am now the patent holder of the technique of wiping one's ass. Its 5 bucks each wipe. Pay up, or I'll see y'all in court.

     

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  11.  
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    Sethumme, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 7:59pm

    Re: Re: When will the pain end . . .

    Exactly. Being unable to invalidate a patent does not necessarily mean the patent is fine. It could simply mean the process for invalidating patents is broken. The one-click patent is about as obvious as the bar tab. Or the hotel mini-fridge.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 10:18pm

    Re: Bogus

    You're close, there's a lot more to this story than meets the eys. ;)

     

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  13.  
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    staff, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 6:41am

    shills!!

    "...demonstrating the ridiculous lengths to which one must go to invalidate a bad patent"

    Quite the opposite, actually. The PTO has become a rubber stamp for infringers. Anyone can cobble together bogus references to initiate a reexam. Yes, even the Patent Office has shills for large corporate infringers like you.

     

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