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Patents

The Grinch Who Patented Christmas 207

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the in-the-future-everything-will-be-patented dept.
theodp writes "The USPTO has reversed its earlier rejection and notified Amazon that the patent application for CEO Jeff Bezos' invention, Coordinating Delivery of a Gift, has been examined and is allowed for issuance as a patent. BTW, Amazon was represented before the USPTO by Perkins Coie, who also supplied Bezos with legal muscle in his personal fight against zoning laws that threatened to curb the size of his Medina mansion (reg.) before the City of Medina eventually gave up on regulating the size of homes (reg.)."
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The Grinch Who Patented Christmas

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  • Next up... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, 2005 @09:36AM (#12973535)
    A patent on coordinating the erection of a tree for holiday purposes...
    • hardwood (Score:2, Funny)

      by krumms (613921)
      ... so ... what you're trying to say is ... trees can get erections?
    • Re:Next up... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Elektroschock (659467) on Sunday July 03, 2005 @10:25AM (#12973705)
      The time is not to make fun of the patent system in general. It is the right time to call for reform in the United States. There are currently US patent reform discussions initiated by Microsofts while myriads of stupid MS lobbyists walk on the floors of the European parliament to lobby for Software patents:

      * Hugo Lueders, CompTIA or Initiative for Software Choice
      * Jonathan Zuck, ACT
      * Simon Gentry, Campaign for Creativity
      * Pleon
      * DCI Group
      and so on. And the more professional guys, which are also partially paid by Microsoft.

      * Francisco Mingorance, Business Software Alliance
      * Mark McGann, EICTA

      So I recommend you to act now.

      1. Help to save Europe, participate in our webdemo [eu.org]

      2. Subscribe to the US FFII List [ffii.org]

      We do not have to complain about the US patent system, we can change it.
      • by FLEB (312391) on Sunday July 03, 2005 @11:11AM (#12973941) Homepage Journal
        The time is not to make fun of the patent system in general. It is the right time to call for reform in the United States.

        Can't we do both?
      • Help to save Europe, participate in our webdemo

        Did just that. Unfortunatly I can not go to the demonstation itself. :-(
      • Call to action (Score:5, Interesting)

        by pieterh (196118) on Sunday July 03, 2005 @12:55PM (#12974393) Homepage
        I've also been walking the floors of the EP the last few weeks and have had the pleasure of speaking at various conferences where the likes of Francisco Mignorance (who both drafted part of the proposed legislation and now lobbies for it on behalf of the BSA), and Simon Gentry (who's C4C pretends to be on behalf of "creative people" but is actually a pure PR play) also took part.

        The pro-patent lobby in Europe is very well funded, organised, and appears to control much of the legislative process itself.

        For example, at the last SME roundtable discussion there were three representatives of real technology SMEs, a handful of MEP's assistants, and over 12 lobbyists, claiming to be small firms, but after the meeting, leaving together with Gentry. One of those occasions when I wish I'd had a camera phone.

        I've uploaded a short statement [imatix.net] that is aimed at MEPs and their assistants. We'll be distributing this to assistants. Anyone who wants to help (early Monday morning, Brussels) please drop me a line.

        We've also made a satirical site [pf-pf.org] that attacks the big business interests behind the push for software patents.

        Finally, there is a demo in Strasbourg on Tuesday morning, and the FFII is organising busses from most of Europe.

        If you can spare the time, put on a suit and tie and get yourself to Strasbourg for 8.00am on Tuesday.

        A large and visible demo will help focus MEP's minds. They will probably vote on Wednesday and unless a near-miracle happens, by the end of the week we will be facing the US situation in Europe.

  • A paradox (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, 2005 @09:36AM (#12973541)
    A method in a computer system for coordinating the delivery a gift given by a gift giver to a recipient when the gift giver did not provide sufficient delivery information.

    But if the required information can be found from other sources (as the patent describes) then the gift giver has supplied sufficient information.

    So the patent doesn't apply to any possible situation.

    • Entrapment (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, 2005 @09:44AM (#12973575)
      Seller: "Where's it going?"

      Undercover patent police: "Melbourne"

      Seller: "That's in Australia isn't it?"

      UPP: "I'm really not sure..."

      Seller: "Okay, I'll just check on the map..."

      UPP: "Got you, you evil evil patent infringer."
      • by ViX44 (893232) on Sunday July 03, 2005 @02:36PM (#12974766)
        ...and out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
        I grabed my binoculars to see what's the matter.
        A bunch of gov agents, dressed in blue and in white,
        Wrangled that criminal and locked him up tight.
        "What's happinging to me, what wrong did I do?"
        In IP-law America, patents file you!
    • But if the required information can be found from other sources (as the patent describes) then the gift giver has supplied sufficient information.

      So the patent doesn't apply to any possible situation.

      From TFP it seems that the extra information is gathered from the gift receiver, not the gift giver. Thus, the patent applies to every situation in which it's supposed to apply.

  • by Popageorgio (723756) <popsnap@gmail.com> on Sunday July 03, 2005 @09:38AM (#12973547) Homepage
    were actually about his Santa-killing spiked chimney.
  • Oh great... (Score:2, Funny)

    by gmezero (4448)
    Yet another way for cam girls to get presents without exposing their address.
  • by DanielMarkham (765899) on Sunday July 03, 2005 @09:40AM (#12973560) Homepage
    I've actually patented the opening of gifts. So take that, Bezos!

    Things are heating up! [whattofix.com]
  • Isn't this obvious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by oo_waratah (699830) on Sunday July 03, 2005 @09:41AM (#12973565)
    The concept of taking an order and then figuring out the address has been common in business practices for years. It is called get the cash then figure out how to meet the delivery. I ring them to get working on a major order, I then call back to confirm delivery instructions. I do this with hardware, or computer gear, or flowers. Flowers are typically a gift, so that would cover the prior art idea.

    Most computer systems have the ability to modify the delivery address after the original input. Wouldn't this be prior art?
    • by servoled (174239) on Sunday July 03, 2005 @09:53AM (#12973601)
      Can you prove that this has been done for years? Unfortunatley the courts have set the burden of proving obviousness so high that it becomes difficult to reject something as being obvious.

      If you would like to take a crack at doing it here is basically what would be required:
      1) a dated publication or with a date prior to 9/12/1997 which discloses at least part of the claimed invention.

      2) one or more dated publications with dates prior to 9/12/1997 which disclose the features that are not disclosed in the first dated publication and disclose motivation to add these missing features into the system of the first publication (i.e. simply because the features may exist individuallly does not mean that it would be obvious to combine them into a single system according to the courts).
      • "Unfortunatley the courts have set the burden of proving obviousness so high that it becomes difficult to reject something as being obvious."

        Except it only gets to court *after* the patent office has already passed it according to its own rules and its being challenged in court.

        The patent office could define obviousness anyway it chooses that fits the necessary criteria of 'invention' (i.e. something new) and 'not obvious to a practictioner in the field'.

        • by servoled (174239) on Sunday July 03, 2005 @12:34PM (#12974310)
          The patent office could define obviousness anyway it chooses that fits the necessary criteria of 'invention' (i.e. something new) and 'not obvious to a practictioner in the field'.

          Completely incorrect. The basic requirements set for something to be patented are set in 35 USC 101 [bitlaw.com] (the types of things which can be patented), 35 USC 102 [bitlaw.com] (novelty), 35 USC 103 [bitlaw.com] (obviousness) and 35 USC 112 [bitlaw.com] (requirements for disclosure). These are federal laws which were written by congress and approved by whoever the president was at the time.

          The Judicial Branch [wikipedia.org] of the government has the sole power to interpret the law. So whenever a case does reach the courts regarding patents the courts decision help define what constitues "obvious".

          The patent office as part of the executive branch has no power to interpret the law as it chooses as must follow the interpretations given by the courts.
          • I disagree, here's why

            "A person shall be entitled to a patent unless--
            (a) he invention WAS KNOWN OR USED by others in this country, or patented or described in a printed publication in this or a foreign country, before the invention thereof by the applicant for patent, or"

            "A patent may not be obtained though the invention is not identically DISCLOSED OR DESCRIBED a"

            These are subjective things 'known' 'used' 'disclosed' 'described' determined first by a patent examiner. The judicial branch only becomes in
            • In your original post you were talking about defining obviousness in any way which the office chooses. Here you have quoted 35 USC 102(a) and the very beginning of 35 USC 103(a).

              35 USC 102(a) deals with novelty and is much more clear cut than 103. For a patent to be rejected under 35 USC 102 all elements must be shown in a single reference in the same manner as claimed. From MPEP 2131 [uspto.gov]:

              "A claim is anticipated only if each and every element as set forth in the claim is found, either expressly or inherent

          • Let me put to you a reasoning why when the courts determine high burdens of proof in patent challenges that they are actually strengthening the patent officers right to make a judgement call.

            1) The patent law includes subjective elements and objective elements.
            2) The patent officer decides on those subjective elements.
            3) He decides to issue the patent based on his judgement.
            4) Someone challenges the patent.
            5) The courts decides that to overrule the patent officers judgement you need that high level of proo
            • by servoled (174239) on Sunday July 03, 2005 @03:42PM (#12975014)
              5) The courts decides that to overrule the patent officers judgement you need that high level of proof of X Y Z.

              The same test of X Y Z used by the courts to overrule a patent is used by the patent examiners when they try to reject patents. If you want court cases try any of the follwoing:

              In re Royka, 490 F.2d 981, 180 USPQ 580 (CCPA 1974)
              In re Wilson, 424 F.2d 1382, 1385, 165 USPQ 494, 496 (CCPA 1970)
              Graham v. John Deere, 383 U.S. 1, 148 USPQ 459 (1966)
              Verdegaal Bros. v. Union Oil Co. of California, 814 F.2d 628, 631, 2 USPQ2d 1051, 1053 (Fed. Cir. 1987)
              Richardson v. Suzuki Motor Co., 868 F.2d 1226, 1236, 9 USPQ2d 1913, 1920 (Fed. Cir. 1989)
              In re Bond, 910 F.2d 831, 15 USPQ2d 1566 (Fed. Cir. 1990)

              or any number of other cases where an examiner was reversed because the rejection made did not live up to the requirements which the courts have set.

              Part of the trouble is that the laws are written such that a patent applicant is entitled to a patent unless it can be shown that he/she is not, similar to the concept of innocent until proven guilty. Therefore, unless it can be proven by the standards layed out by the courts that the patent appplication is either non-novel or obvious, the patent must be granted. The patent office is not allowed to simply call something obvious or say that it has been done before to reject the patent. They must come up with solid evidence which proves that it has been done or is obvious. If the courts do not agree with the evidence given or do not agree with the methodology used in the proof they will reverse the examiner and require the patent to be issued unless new evidence can be shown.

              If you want to know the exact requirements and read about the numerous court cases which have layed out these requirements I suggest reading the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure Chapter 2100 [uspto.gov].
              • "he same test of X Y Z used by the courts to overrule a patent is used by the patent examiners when they try to reject patents."

                Why? The patent officers job is to issue patents not to try to reject them. The case law you quote doesn't refute that. It sets the conditions to overturn a patent not to accept it.

                In re Royka, 490 F.2d 981, 180 USPQ 580 (CCPA 1974). also Wilson is the same.
                "If a claim is subject to more than one interpretation, at least one of which would render the claim unpatentable over the p
                • Put it this way, if the high water mark and the low water mark were the same, the courts would not have to presume the patent is valid unless proved otherwise because the level of proof would be the same (whether they presumed or not) as if they were originally granting it.

                  The courts presume a patent is valid because the question of validity is usually not before them in a trial. Usually the trial centers on whether there is infringement or not. Secondly, they presume a patent is valid since the law sta
      • Not to mention that the slashdot understanding of a patent's claims is almost always wrong. It is based on the headline. For a while I read every patent application that upset slashdot and was astonished at how wrong slashdot is. Now I don't bother.

        Whatever this patent covers, it's definitely not what slashdot says.
    • by Ritchie70 (860516)
      This is, in fact, something the floral industry does routinely with respect to funeral arrangements. Someone calls with an order "for the John Smith of Benson, IL funeral" and the florist starts calling around trying to figure out what funeral home has John on ice.
    • If I read the patent right, it seems to cover the whole delivery decision tree, including calling the recipient on the phone to get their address. I find it hard to believe that any judge intelligent enough to show up in court fully dressed would accept this as an innovation.
      • If I read the patent right...

        You did, but you missed the important bit -- the part where it says in a computer system. They have probably come up with a system that "coordinates the delivery a gift given by a gift giver to a recipient when the gift giver did not provide sufficient delivery information" with as little human input as possible. I assume that such a system is probably innovative. And now they want to protect this system from being copied by others. It's as simple as that. Why should they be

        • I assume that such a system is probably innovative. And now they want to protect this system from being copied by others. It's as simple as that. Why should they be denied this protection?

          Because it's simply taking a laborious task and assigning it to a computer. That's what computers are for. It's not particularly innovative.

  • Login for article (Score:3, Informative)

    by dinomite (177112) <`dinomite' `at' `csh.rit.edu'> on Sunday July 03, 2005 @09:45AM (#12973576) Homepage
    Username: 67pnmoil
    Password: 67pnmoil
  • by Weezul (52464) on Sunday July 03, 2005 @09:46AM (#12973582)
    It would be cool for a group of developmental psychologists to get together, do a really brilliant job organizing what they already know about the best techniques for raising children and training day care personnel, and then set up a company to patent them all Once their research eventually made it to the front page of nature, people would want to use it, but discover that they could only do it if they made their day care into a franchise. It might help get people's attention, especially if the day care patents are far more legally sound then this garbage, plus it might make some developmental psychologists and their financial backers very rich.
  • Why dont we try to patent "Protecting Intellectual Property from Theft"... They'd probably let it go through, too...
    • Better yet:

      Patent the concept of protecting copyrighted and patented materials from the useless and redundant moniker of "Intellectual Property". Information wants to be with me. ;P (I do not condone piracy. I'm not a narc. I like buying and owning things as long as they are worth it.)
  • Gamer (Score:2, Informative)

    by otter42 (190544)
    I'm sorry, does Bezos actually have a clue about doing things, or is all he knows how to game the patent and legal system?

    Officially, I'm now boycotting Amazon.com and will recommend to all my friends to do likewise.
    • This is the only thing that corporations, especially clueless, greedy corporations like Amazon will understand. If it affects their bottom line by removing money they don't deserve, then they'll be encouraged to take remedial action. In this case, it might entail buying a few clues as to what innovation is really all about.
  • by toupsie (88295) on Sunday July 03, 2005 @10:15AM (#12973680) Homepage
    who also supplied Bezos with legal muscle in his personal fight against zoning laws that threatened to curb the size of his Medina mansion (reg.) before the City of Medina eventually gave up on regulating the size of homes (reg.).

    What the hell does the size of Bezos' home have to do with a patent? That's right, NOTHING! We have something in this country called liberty and if Bezos owns land and wants to build a house that uses 99.9% of it, he should be able to build it. City councils dictating to folks about the style and size of private homes is over the line. Safety standards and building codes are fine within reason.

    Oh, and the patent sucks, Bezos is a jerk...

    • I think they just wanted to show that this attorney has a track record of bullying the government.About his home.....You can't put personal freedom before the welfare of the general public. If building some gargantuan home is going to cause issues for those around them, be it intrinsic or financial, that presents a problem. Now your actions are infringing on the rights of others. Freedom doesn't mean absence of regulation.
    • Cities care about how they look, that's why people can't build just anything they want.
    • I couldn't understand how property houses related to patents, but here's a useful link about Jeff Bezos [fastcompany.com]

      Jeff Bezos considers giving employees the freedom to choose the size of their house is considered as important to the company's future success as being able to file patents.

      From this high lookout, Amazon's employees enjoy views of Puget Sound and the port, the downtown skyline, the two new stadiums built with the help of Microsoft money, the green hills of Seattle's residential neighborhoods, and the c
    • by Salvo (8037)

      What you're saying is if someone wants to build a MIssle Silo or Sewage Treatment Plant next door too your home, They should be allowed, regardless of Zoning Laws.

      What about if someone wants to convert the alleyway behind their house to a shed or herb garden, blocking access to anyone else who uses that alley? Is that OK too?

      How about if someone wants to build a three-storey Lego-Brick on their property, all the way to the fence, while every other house in the street is a small country-style cottage?

  • by originalhack (142366) on Sunday July 03, 2005 @10:17AM (#12973687)
    From here [smbiz.com].

    Make sure you have a good address. If there's any doubt, call the customer or look up the address in an on-line or CD directory.

    So, when will we stop issuing patents for using a computer to do EXACTLY the same thing that was previously done without it?

    Now, if we'll let Jeff patent using a computer for exactly what was done without it, the 1995 publication of doing exaclty the same thing in the electronic world should act as prior art. From rfc1801 [ietf.org]

    22.4 Bad Addresses If there is a bad address, it is desirable to do a directory search to find alternatives. This is a helpful user service and may be supported. This function is invoked after address checking has failed, and where this is no user supplied alternate recipient. This function would be an MTA-chosen alternative to administratively assigned alternate recipient.
    VERY innovative Jeff
    • "So, when will we stop issuing patents for using a computer to do EXACTLY the same thing that was previously done without it?"

      Generally speaking, I would just like to point out that doing something automatically, or by computer, is not 'the same' as a human doing it.

      For example, just because you have been able to listen to people's instructions in English, and perform actions based on them, for many years, that does not mean that a computer system able to understand and act upon a natural language like En
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Award-winning science fiction author China Mieville has written a wonderful Christmas story for the Socialist Review. It concerns itself not with the commercialization of Christmas, but with the privatization of it, with an era in which observing Christmas requires extensive license payments and agreements with the entities that hold the copyrights and trademarks in holiday traditions.

    Don't get me wrong. I haven't got shares in YuleCo, and I can't afford a one-day end-user licence, so I couldn't have a leg [socialistreview.org.uk]


  • So, after reading the patent, as I understand it, I am allowed to look up a Zip Code for my personal enjoyment, but if I do it for a web client sending a package to someone, I have to licence the right to look up the freeken zip code !!!

    Un Friggen Believable..
  • why pick on Amazon? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CoughDropAddict (40792) on Sunday July 03, 2005 @10:42AM (#12973802) Homepage
    I hate the patent crazyness as much as anyone. But why so many stories about Amazon's patents in particular? Amazon is a relative lightweight in the patent scene. IBM walks to the patent office with a stack of patents every single week. I'm sure you can find plenty to pick on in their applications.

    Not to mention that Amazon is often on the receiving end of patent aggression. If you look at Amazon's most recent 10Q [10kwizard.com], you'll see that Amazon is currently the defendent in five patent infringement lawsuits.

    Pinpoint, inc. is suing Amazon for patent infringement related to site personalization.

    Soverain Software is suing Amazon for patent infringement of four of their patents, including a "Digital Sales System" and "Digital Active Advertising."

    IPXL holdings is suing Amazon for infringement of a patent titled "Electronic Fund Transfer or Transaction System."

    BTG International is suing Amazon for infringement of a patent titled "Attaching Navigational History Information to Universal Resource Locator Links on a World Wide Web Page."

    Cendant Publishing is suing Amazon for infringement of a patent related to recommendations.

    If you despise patent aggression, Amazon is not your poster child for patent abuse. Not even close. Amazon is taking a lot more than it's dishing out.

    Disclaimer: I work for Amazon, but of course do not speak for them.
    • by cgenman (325138) on Sunday July 03, 2005 @11:00AM (#12973887) Homepage
      A: Amazon arguably started the rediculousness with patenting 1-click shopping. It became a poster child for everything that was wrong with the patent system. From then, people realized that basically anything was patentable.

      B: Amazon (or at least it's founders) were involved in a failed orginazation that offered rewards to root out bad patents.

      C: Amazon continues to get rediculous patents.

      In other words, Amazon has put itself squarely in the middle of the stupid patent debate, by A: being the first and B: publically and flagrantly playing both sides.

      Maybe it doesn't look that way from the inside, but from the outside Amazon has become a rediculous symbol, and this patent isn't helping.

      • Even worse. (Score:3, Informative)

        by dmaxwell (43234)

        B: Amazon (or at least it's founders) were involved in a failed orginazation that offered rewards to root out bad patents.


        Amazon used work done by this organization to obtain yet another bad patent. I gotta admire the chutzpah and sheer size of their nads myself. It in the chutzpah department it even outdoes MS pulling IE for the Mac because "we can't compete with Apple on their own platform" or even "MS will now offer antivirus and spyware protection....".
      • by King_TJ (85913)
        Absolutely. But to at least some of us, Amazon was also a little frustrating from another standpoint.

        When the .com "boom" was underway, Amazon just followed the same boneheaded business model that most of the others were taking; grow as big as possible, as fast as possible!

        I remember reading more than one interview with Bezos back then that made it pretty clear the guy really didn't have much of a "common sense" business plan at all. He was often asked exactly what types of products or services he plann
        • Not many people can compete with amazon on the scale that it does business. I believe that its secret is its supply and distribution chain. The can offer things for a lot cheaper than retail (compare best buy online with amazon one day) as well as have it out the door immediately. For instance, I ordered a digital camera for $180 that was retailing for $300. The order was shipped from Kentucky (guess they have more than one distribution center) and arrived at my house 2 days later. Shipping with two shipper
    • by cahiha (873942)
      But why so many stories about Amazon's patents in particular?

      Because Amazon's patents are particularly evil: they try to patent trivial business methods.

      I'm sure you can find plenty to pick on in [IBM's] applications.

      Go ahead and review their applications and let us know. We complain about the patents that we know about.

      Not to mention that Amazon is often on the receiving end of patent aggression.

      All the worse that Amazon is engaging in this kind of conduct themselves and isn't more aggressively
  • Can always just claim eminent domain and confiscate their houses to put in Wal-Marts. Given the size of their houses, they won't even have to tear them down and build new buildings, just gut the interiors.
  • That there is not one person at the USPTO that has the common sense that God gave a pissant. I seriously doubt that any one of them could either: poor piss out of a boot if the instructions were on the heel, or find their ass with both hands on the best day they will ever have?
  • Penalties (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, 2005 @11:01AM (#12973897)
    The real issue is there is no real penalty for patenting aleady used things. I think for each and every "instance" of prior art, there should be a fine of $500. If there are numerouse instances, then I think the patent holder should be guilty of fraud and thrown into jail...
  • by PhYrE2k2 (806396)
    ... "when the gift giver did not provide sufficient delivery information."

    This patent is only for contacting the individual to determine more information. So on the other hand, give a name and city, and they'll figure it out.

    -M

  • Patent offices are hardly champions of justice, reason or let alone invention. They are paper pushing businesses in whose best interest it is to relax the conditions for what is considered patentable.

    Sure, the problem begins with patents themselves (esp software and pharmaceutical patents) but this can be stemmed at the level of the State even allowing Patent Offices to operate as enterprises (with marketing divisions, lobbyists, investment incentives) in their own right.

    And further down, at the level of
    • They are paper pushing businesses in whose best interest it is to relax the conditions for what is considered patentable.

      The Patent Office does not set the conditions for patentability. Those are set by congress and the courts.

      Sure, the problem begins with patents themselves (esp software and pharmaceutical patents) but this can be stemmed at the level of the State even allowing Patent Offices to operate as enterprises (with marketing divisions, lobbyists, investment incentives) in their own right.

      M
      • The Patent Office does not set the conditions for patentability. Those are set by congress and the courts.

        Not strictly true, at least here in the EU. The EPO has lobbied hard for widest possible patentability and have an active marketing division producing pamphlets and giving seminars all around the EU.

        You ought to read this case history [ffii.org].. The EPO has been granting patents within unqualified (not legally valid) contexts of 'patentability' (ie. software patents) for several years and have actively pushed
  • by SlashCrunchPop (699733) on Sunday July 03, 2005 @11:25AM (#12973994)

    What I would like to see is legislation that would prevent abusive companies like Amazon from launching such Denial of Service attacks on the USPTO, our economy and us as tax payers. Such abusive companies are filing thousands of ridiculous patent applications and counting on statistics to have a few of their riduculous patent applications slip through and get approved as well as to have initially rejected patent applications reversed. In the end those silly patents will get overturned and rejected, but it will cost us all a lot of time and tax payers' money.

    There should be a law mandating that if a legal entity files more than a certain number of patent applications within a certain period of time (say, more than 5 within 30 days) and either more than a certain number of patent applications filed by that same legal entity within a longer period of time had been rejected (say, more than 5 rejected in the last 180 days) or the percentage of all the rejected patent applications ever filed by that legal entity exceeds a certain percentage (say, more than 25% rejected), then such a legal entity is only allowed to file no more than a certain number of patent applications per month (say, no more than 3 per month).

  • What about Canada? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AutopsyReport (856852)
    Anyone know if patenting problems like this exist in Canada? The last time I looked into patents in Canada, you could not patent any algorithm, formula, method, etc., related to computer software. It really didn't matter if you had a genius solution to something, it would rejected because it was built around software.

    I look at this patent and it is so absurdly unoriginal that it should warrant rejection. Given that this patent was accepted, it amazes me that the concept of a Forum/Messageboard hasn't been

  • by springMute (873579)
    Maybe I'm too out of the loop, but does anyone have a list of big, generic, all-purpose online bookstores with good quality? With a global reach of course, since I'm not in the USA.
  • by PetoskeyGuy (648788) on Sunday July 03, 2005 @11:59AM (#12974136)
    At the bottom of this article, nicely sums up my view of things. :)

    What we need is either less corruption, or more chance to participate in it.
  • canm get around anti-spam and telemarking no call lists so long as they give you some gift. Like address labels or an online greeting card or...

    just so long as they pay Bozo ...

    software patents are acts of fraud against the general population of the human inhabitants.

    I can think in abstract terms therefor I must be infringing upon someones patent..

    invalidation of the patent system...
  • ...infringing upon bozo's patent.

    about a year ago I go a notice from the USPS in regards to what they claim my official address is.

    Interesting enough it was different than what I had been using for over a decade, even different then what the postal carrier was used to (these guys are pretty good at figuring out the correct address for incorrect and incomplete addresses).

    Hell, this official postal address is even different that what the street name sign reads.

    From: Hudson Crossing Road
    TO: Hudsn Xing

    the
  • Amazon itself avoid using its patent in order to avoid to pay itself royalities for using it.

    At least, that's what they left me to think since I ordered a couple of books in February I am still waiting for and they changed at least three or four times the delivery date for them.

    Maybe they are just waiting for the patent that will enable them to change the calendar days at will in order to synchronize everything perfectly.

  • by ThisIsFred (705426) on Sunday July 03, 2005 @01:02PM (#12974428) Journal
    OK, I read the text of the patent. It is complete and utter hogwash. It's another one of those 'something+computer' or 'something+Internet' schemes. I know I've called for stupid patent action before, just to make a point, but maybe it's time for something more drastic. Let's take every non-computer, non-Internet patent in the USPTO database, liberally sprinkle the words "computer" and "Internet" in the body of the text, then submit them for patent.

    There is prior art here. In fact, it's basically what UPS, FedEx, Airborn Express does already if there's a problem with a delivery. It's basically how the Post Office handles undeliverables. They contact the recipient based on additional information in their database, including home phone, business phone or e-mail.

    Just look at the opener to the "invention's" background: The Internet comprises a vast number of computers that are interconnected for the purpose of exchanging information. Various protocols, such as the HyperText Transfer Protocol ("HTTP"), have been defined to aid in this exchange of information." You gotta be kidding me! Remember when you were in grade school, and there was always that one kid who opened his report with "Webster's defines 'x' as...'? That's what this sounds like to me. You know what Bezos and crew invented? They invented a way to transmit bullshit over the Internet.
  • After our son was born, my parents tried to send flowers to the house. But because we were in a new construction development (including the streets), the florist could not find our house on a map. They called, got the machine, and left a message asking us to call them back so they could get directions to the house. They even left a reference number for the order so we could speed things up when we called.

    Looks like they violated Bezos' patent.

    This meets the requirement of being non-obvious?????

    F*

  • Face facts, folks: just like Bill Gates, Bezos is clearly looking out for #1, and to hell with the consequences for everyone else.

    Quit supporting the asshat. Purchase your books locally.
  • by cahiha (873942) on Sunday July 03, 2005 @01:34PM (#12974525)
    Get a copy of the Book Burro [overstimulate.com] Greasemonkey [mozdev.org] script for Firefox [mozilla.org].

    What does it do? All those Amazon links people put on their web pages still work, and you can still use Amazon product search. But it will give you a price comparison right in the browser (a little floating window on top of the Amazon page), together with links to order from other on-line book sellers.

    There are other Greasemonkey user scripts [dunck.us] that look up the book in your local library and do all sorts of other nice price comparison things for you.
  • Earlier Application (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    A company I used to work with applied for this same patent on 4/19/99. The amazon patent was filed on 7/12/02.

    See http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=P TO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch- bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PG01&s1=frogmagic &OS=frogmagic&RS=frogmagic [uspto.gov]
    • Hate to say it, but Amazon beat you by at least a year, if not two. See the continutity data tab in the link:

      This application is a Division of 09/151,617 09-11-1998 Pending -
      Which is a Continuation in part of 09/046,503 03-23-1998 Abandoned -
      Which is a Continuation in part of 08/928,951 09-12-1997 Patented 5,960,411
  • by Brett Johnson (649584) on Sunday July 03, 2005 @02:35PM (#12974765)
    So Jeff Bezos just patented calling the recipient to ask his mailing address or looking it up in the phone book.

    I can see the phishing scams now.

    "LandShark.com wishes to arrange delivery of a candygram gift to you. Please provide full delivery address and a time when someone will be available to answer the door..."

    Obscure SNL "Land Shark" reference explained here:
    What is a LandShark? [math.ubc.ca]
    Trick-or-Treating LandShark [jt.org]
    Jaws II [jt.org]
    Jaws III [jt.org]
  • Thanks! (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by Mark_MF-WN (678030)
    On behalf of the world, I thank the US for once again lowering the bar for all of us. The USPTO is truly the archetype of corrupt lazy beauracries.

    Seriously -- when are Americans going to curb-stomp their government and government agencies back into reality? How long are the politics of fear and stupidity going to rule? How long until Americans stop voting for lizards, just to make sure that the wrong lizard doesn't elected? Or shirking the blame because they voted for Kodos?

    Bah. Stupid yankee ass

  • by SeventyBang (858415) on Sunday July 03, 2005 @03:21PM (#12974940)
    This: $25M estate [wthr.com] is for sale [indystar.com]. The guy who owned it was receiving $100M+ in compensation from the company he founded. ($ + stock) (he sold encyclopedia door-to-door as his last job before he founded the insurance company). He and another dozen+ suits were taking huge loans out of the company to load up on shares of stock. They bought a company which insured trailers (as in mobile home trailers - tornado magnets) and the company financially bounced pretty hard and most of them were tossed. They are now being pursued for repayment but are claiming they have no way to pay and will not declare bankruptcy.

    The funny thing is, they would have kept the money had the stock paid off but they don't believe they owe anything because the stock didn't pay off. The best part is Hilbert (said estate above) claims he's spent all of his money and has nothing more than a handful of millions left - as an aside: a substantial number of donations were made before the financial issues - hospital wings, orchestra, athletic facilities, etc. Mysteriously, his wife seems to have two substantial estates across the street from each other in Florida, etc. The Hilbert family attorney claims she's permitted to have her own financial status and it's no one else's business. read that: they've stashed the money in her name.

    Who is she? The second Mrs. Hilbert. She was the stripper at Mr. Hilbert's son's bachelor party. I'm not kidding. The only thing she shouldn't have taken off during her routine is the bag she had on her head. Have you heard the phrase, "Uglier than a mud fence?"

    Oh, they've had two auctions to unload everything they left behind because it wouldn't fit when they moved into the biggest house they could afford around here - 9'000 ft^2 - $5M. Auction #2 [indystar.com] The real estate sign advertises "55'000 ft^2 under roof!" The basketball court mentioned in the cited story is a to-scale replica of Indiana University's, down to the championship banners, scoreboards, ...everything.
  • Doesn't FedEx ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Specks (798579)
    Doesn't FedEx do this already? I mean. Its basicaly trying to guess where a package goes when the address is incomplete. Come to think of it a lot of other software packages do this as well. So what's different about what Amazon does?

The tree of research must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of bean counters. -- Alan Kay

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