IBM Patents 1-And-Only-1-Click Ordering

from the this-is-patentable? dept

theodp writes "Last week, the USPTO granted IBM a patent for Single Submission Buttons, an ‘invention’ that essentially consists of ignoring the second and subsequent clicks of a button. Like Amazon, IBM seems to be finding it easier to talk-the-patent-reform-talk than walk-the-patent-reform-walk."

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Companies: ibm

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Comments on “IBM Patents 1-And-Only-1-Click Ordering”

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zcat says:

Re: Re:

Not sure about that, but it would appear that Microsoft have a New Zealand patent on the IOS 7-layer network model (they basically describe all of TCP/IP), and/or the idea of local sockets. I’m only a geek, not a lawyer, so I’m not entirely sure what they’re actually claiming to own. Filed in 2001 iirc, and I’d have to look up the number.. Presumably this is one of the 235 MSFT patents that Linux infringes.

Steak says:

I don't quite agree...

I don’t quite agree with the implication that IBM is not “walking the walk” for patent reform.

As Paul Graham says, there’s nothing evil about filing for patents. It’s a game…. you get all the patents you can, more than anything just so no one else can use it against you.

That is, our system will grant a patent for anything. ANYTHING. But from an individual business perspective, it’s still better to file for patents than not file for patents, and I agree with IBM and its decision to get patents.

The only part I could conceive as “evil” for IBM here is if they try to USE the patent to stifle competitors, much like Amazon’s pathetic attack on Barnes & Noble.

Currently, getting patents, particularly software patents, is a game, and every company in its own interest should be playing the game and getting all the patents they can. However, this definitely does not mean that they can’t be or aren’t against the system in the first place. I see this more as a statement from IBM “well the system sucks but we’re going to make the most of it until you change it”. Or more bluntly, “We don’t deserve any of these patents but as long as you’re going to hand them out, we’ll take ’em”.

The only example of failing to “walk the walk” would be if a company were to be voting for new patents but using them as a crutch to stifle competition; and IBM is currently not doing that. In my opinion, they’re using the best approach until the USPTO stops giving away patents like candy.

theodp says:

Re: I don't quite agree...

IBM has self-anointed itself as the savior of the patent system from meritless patents, a category many would argue this patent certainly falls into. Also, as IBM’s recent patent arm-twisting of Amazon shows, IBM certainly don’t seem to be adverse to innovation-stifling litigation that squeezes money out of the business method patents they profess to despise.

ReadingMan says:

Re: I don't quite agree...

Excellent point. I worked for a number of years for a large company. There were a lot of things wrong with the company (hence worked), but their patent policy was basically OK. They got strategic patents in software largely to avoid getting bled by trolls and small mom and pop shops. The patents were useless to prosecute since suing a small business was suicidal in the public relations department and they already had cross-licensing agreements with the major players in the field.

If you intend to use the technology, patenting it makes sense. It is hard to get a granted patent invalidated. Similarly, if you have a portfolio of these patents, you can use them when you are sued by a smaller concern … point out that they are in violation of your patents and cut a better deal. Not so good against trolls who produce nothing, though.

TheDock22 says:

Nothing to do with shopping cart

This patent is basically a button that no matter how many times you click it, it will only recognize one click (saving a lot of headaches in the programming world too). This does not seem like an original or innovative patent in my opinion. I would argue that someone developing functionality like this for a button is common sense, not anything new.

Jeremy Riley says:

Patent everything and everyone...

Albert Einstein worked at the patent office, but he did not award himself rights to E=mc^2 said to be the biggest discovery of our age. Maybe I should patent that. Oh wait… there’s already a technology company called EMC^2 without the = sign.

Just trying to make a point here. I wonder what Albert’s comments would be?

dualboot says:

Really ONE click?

Frankly, I would be afraid to use a check-out system that was truly only one click. What if I clicked the wrong color, or I wanted it to ship to my brother in Iraq as a gift? What if my one-click credit card is one that’s higher interest than a new one I just got, and wanted to use a different card? If there’s just one click I wouldn’t be able to customize all that. I like the idea of keeping SOME of my info on file so I don’t have to enter it every time, but I will NEVER use a check-out system that’s really just one click. No opportunity to realize mistakes, make changes, or just plain change my mind when I see the astronomical shipping charges. Speedy checkout is fine… one click is not.

Thom says:

I think it's great

So what if Amazon eventually gets 1-click reinstated, IBM can simply grant everyone an open license to use 1-and-only-1-click buttons. This is a technicality patent and a great one at that. You can use the latter button anywhere you’d use the former, they’d look the same and for all but the most impatient of users they’d appear to act the same. Only impatient clickers would notice that they were now getting only one of an item in their order instead of several as before.

This is simply a way around the potential Amazon 1-click patent and nothing more. The better coders have done this for years and I’ve never accidentally bought two of an item at Amazon while 1-click shopping so they probably do it too. They just never thought to patent something so obvious. Someone at IBM did though, they had a revelation on how to beat Amazon at its own game.


Plakskull says:

Actual Claim

What is claimed in the actual patent, in short, is a button that will accept one and only one click by implementing its own internal single-click policy, thereby eliminating the need for external javascript to be written around the buttons and eliminating multiple clicks from resulting in multiple submissions. It cites that by extending an existing button class, a new “single submission button” can be implemented so as not to be dependent on external mouse event handling code (i.e. javascript) which could potentially be disabled or circumvented. Here is the actual first claim (out of six total):

“1. A computer readable medium encoded with a computer program for enforcing a one-click-only policy for a graphical button object that is displayable on a computer screen, the one-click-only policy preventing a user from inadvertently activating a pre-determined action associated with the graphical button object more than one time, the computer program comprising computer executable code for: displaying the graphical button object on a computer screen, the graphical button object having been previously instantiated from a button class, the button class embedding the one-click-only policy within the graphical button object so that a JavaScript external to the graphical button object is not required to enforce the one-click-only policy for the graphical object; responsive to receiving user input clicking on the graphical button object displayed on the computer screen for a first time, activating the pre-determined action associated with the graphical button object; and responsive to receiving user input clicking on the graphical button object displayed on the computer screen for a second time subsequent to the first time, not activating the pre-defined action associated with the graphical button object in accordance the one-click only policy embedded in the graphical button object.”

This seems to be a pretty narrow patent, which does not seem to cover any button that provides this behavior through external scripting, as is typically done everywhere.

David (user link) says:


Claiming the absolute rights to small pieces of software is
absurd, it likes claiming, a turn of phrase, or some common
combination of letters as property! Stops creativity in the long run. Rewards big money and not the creative people that
usually develop these things. In the end it is anti-sharing
of knowledge! Now for complex projects that are demonstrably
unique, that’s a different matter! Recall Apple inc. suing
every in the 80’s for the windowing concept, that S.J. had
stolen from Zerox, and later after leaving Apple thought that Apple was wrong for it’s effort to suppress other windowing systems. At a software publisher meeting he
compared trying to own these concepts, as an effort to
own the idea of a door way or air itself.
And I agree.

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