USPTO Increases Scope Of Amazon's 1-Click Patent

from the next,-up,-two-clicks dept

theodp writes "With its claims recently poo-pooed as old and well known and a separate reexam underway, it seemed unlikely that Amazon's 1-Click patent claims would be broadened anytime soon. But Amazon's thrice-rejected continuation application for 'Placing a Purchase Order Via a Communications Network' became U.S. patent no. 7,222,087 last week, adding innovative claims like contacting the recipient of an order via e-mail or a phone call to obtain additional info. How did it get approved? It apparently found its way into the hands of a sympathetic (and impatient) USPTO Examiner who had earlier defended his friends for approving 1-Click in the first place and referred 1-Click naysayers to a letter to the WSJ penned by the ex-Commissioner for Patents. That letter suggested that the failure of BountyQuest, a well-hyped company funded by 1-Click patent holder and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, to award an 'official' $10,000 bounty in a 2001 contest for 1-Click prior art was proof of the patent's novelty."

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  • identicon
    James, 6 Jun 2007 @ 6:56am

    What next..

    ..they patent the process of moving a mouse in preparation to (or the consideration of) clicking on a hyperlink for the purposes of adding an item to a shopping cart? Fk'n idiots.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bezos Bozo, 6 Jun 2007 @ 7:25am

    So What?

    SO if every web site starts using 1-click, Amazon won't sue everybody, because even Bezos doesn't have the resources to sue thousands of websites.

    What a bunch of BS.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anon, 6 Jun 2007 @ 8:31am

    America Only?

    Surely this patent only extends to American companies though?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    sonofdot, 6 Jun 2007 @ 8:40am

    This is ludicrous

    The way I read this, if you have a website and a customer places an order, and you follow up with a telephone call you are in violation of this patent. Only in American government can someone (the patent examiner) have their head so far up their ass yet still have a job. Bezos can now sue every website that sells anything, if the company owning the website ever picks up the phone to call a customer about an order, or if they send an email confirmation of the order.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    GoblinJuice, 6 Jun 2007 @ 8:52am

    This is a joke.

    The USPTO needs to be overhauled. Seriously. This is a joke.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Joe Smith, 6 Jun 2007 @ 9:16am

    reform

    That examiner must really really hate his job because a few more decisions like this one and there is going to be some serious housecleaning at the USPTO

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      slyguy, 6 Jun 2007 @ 10:24am

      Re: reform

      Reform will be possible for the USPTO who has put a goal to hire 1200 personnel a year for the next several years in the patent office alone.

      Now, why would they need to hire that many people a year? Horrible employee retention? No wonder patents get irresponsibily approved.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    able-x, 6 Jun 2007 @ 10:34am

    one-click

    how is it one-click anyway? Each time I've bought something from Amazon, it was many more than 1 clicks to buy it.

    Now iTunes is truly one click purchasing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2007 @ 11:05am

    I just patented taking a dump!

    Yeah that's right, I just patented taking a dump and you all now owe me big time. Unless of course your are going to hold it until you bloat up and die.

    Next I am patenting taking a look in the toilet after your done.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    trillionandone, 6 Jun 2007 @ 12:00pm

    The Law anyone?

    Folks -

    Bezos offered and advertised the offer to pay anyone $10,000 for "prior art" on the Amazon 1-Click process. Years later, neither the general public nor a slew of paid attorneys have been able to find evidence of a web site using this process improvement.

    He was the first to implement it and the first to submit it to the patent office. That was a pretty tough thing to do back when innovation was just busting out all over the Internet landscape.

    Back then, I loved the uniquely Amazon 1-click shopping experience and today, I love the fact that I am enjoying the same experience on a whole bunch of other great websites.

    As much as I love the convenience, I gotta hand it to Bezos. Great idea! As such, he is governed by the ruling of the patent office and more importantly; the rules of a free market economy.

    We will all enjoy the invention - obvious or not. The fact that Bezos was first to react gives him the right to license his invention or even sue for damages in cases of infringement.

    Economics will guide Amazon to wield this patent in a fashion that supports the growth of the consumer driven market. It's simple math - Amazon would make more money licensing the patent than sitting on it and using it as a competitive advantage. That means that Amazon will set a low licensing fee so that many web sites can afford it.

    No matter what happens, in 20 years the patent protection expires and life goes on...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 6 Jun 2007 @ 6:57pm

      Re: The Law anyone?


      Bezos offered and advertised the offer to pay anyone $10,000 for "prior art" on the Amazon 1-Click process. Years later, neither the general public nor a slew of paid attorneys have been able to find evidence of a web site using this process improvement.


      Actually, this is false. Prior art was recently sumbitted, and the USPTO is reviewing the patent.

      He was the first to implement it and the first to submit it to the patent office. That was a pretty tough thing to do back when innovation was just busting out all over the Internet landscape.

      Huh? Doing something as obvious as making checkout more efficient was difficult to do? How so?


      Back then, I loved the uniquely Amazon 1-click shopping experience and today, I love the fact that I am enjoying the same experience on a whole bunch of other great websites.


      What does that have to do with the patent?

      As much as I love the convenience, I gotta hand it to Bezos. Great idea! As such, he is governed by the ruling of the patent office and more importantly; the rules of a free market economy.

      The free market economy wouldn't allow for a government-granted monopoly.

      Economics will guide Amazon to wield this patent in a fashion that supports the growth of the consumer driven market. It's simple math - Amazon would make more money licensing the patent than sitting on it and using it as a competitive advantage. That means that Amazon will set a low licensing fee so that many web sites can afford it.

      You know what would be even better? If other sites simply implemented it themselves without having to pay anything -- knowing that it's an obvious idea that simply makes sense.

      No matter what happens, in 20 years the patent protection expires and life goes on...

      And during those 20 years, think of how much money is wasted in licensing this patent that could have gone towards investing in innovation.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DML, 6 Jun 2007 @ 12:52pm

    Why wasn't bounty collected?

    Every time the one-click patent is mentioned, I always read comments claiming "prior art". If this is so, why wasn't the bounty collected?

    I'm not defending Bezos...exactly. It *seems* like an obvious idea and certainly not worthy of government enforced patent protection (I actually question if anything is worthy of this, but that's a different topic). However, I *am* curious as to why there's no prior art for something so allegedly obvious.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    GregTtr, 7 Jun 2007 @ 9:29am

    Free Market???????

    "he is governed by the ruling of the patent office and more importantly; the rules of a free market economy.
    "
    How can one say together "free market"and "patent"without a negation somewhere in the sentence?
    Free market means you let market forces act.
    Patent means precisely that government is preventing the market to do how it pleases, telling everyone ÿou're not free, if you want to do ~, you've got to first have permission from this or that man".
    That's the absolute antithesis of free market.

    By the way, even the founding fathers when they first created the patent system were saying that it was a very bad system but that they didn't find anything else that would not dissuade people from inventing and that would be manageable.
    Do you really think that Amazon would never had done the one-click on its site if it could not get a monopoly on this? Get real.
    And if it would have done it anyway, then it means this patent, while having all the anti-market drawbacks of each and every existing patent, does not uphold the role of a patent in the first place.

    The role of a patent as initially created is to have people stop saying "Ï've got that great idea, but I won't bother showing it to the world, someone with deeper pockets than me would come, do the same thing and crush me".
    For this, and only this reason, was this EXCEPTION to free market tolerated.

    And even assuming IMPLEMENTING the one click was difficult (and it's definitely not, nor was it ever), well then it wouldn't justify a patent, it would just justify that noone could use your copyrighted CODE that implements the complex solution to a simple problem.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rich Steiner, 7 Jun 2007 @ 10:29pm

    Everything has to have a "first" implementation.

    However, that doesn't mean that everything is patentable by the person who implements it first.

    Not only does something have to be the first implementation of its kind, but it *also* has to be something that wouldn't be obvious to someone versed in the art of software development in the context (in this case) of web purchasing.

    Even if Amazon did it first, that doesn't validate the patent unless it also passes on obviousness grounds (something many people well-versed in the art of programming have strongly questioned).

    The former is easier for the USPTO (or BountyQuest) to document. The latter requires expertise in many cases to understand the obvious nature, something the USPTO is very unlikely to possess.

    The fact that so-called "software patents" seem to patent a general process and not a specific implementation (a way in which it differs from most other patents) makes it that much more destructive when granted incorrectly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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