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USPTO Increases Scope Of Amazon's 1-Click Patent 98

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the patents-that-won't-die dept.
An anonymous reader writes "While the patent office had rejected earlier attempts by Amazon to get a continuation patent on its infamous "1-click" patent, it appears that an impatient USPTO examiner has approved the continuation, apparently because of the failure of BountyQuest to come up with prior art. This continuation adds claims like contacting the recipient of an order via e-mail or a phone call to obtain additional info."
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USPTO Increases Scope Of Amazon's 1-Click Patent

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  • I just wonder... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RyanFenton (230700) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @10:47PM (#19433049)
    ...on average, what percentage of a patent examiner's net worth is actually wages, and what percent is some form of bribes and hush money.

    It just seems an inherently corruption-friendly system that allows any examiner of proper rank to step in and hand monopolies out to companies at a moment's notice.

    Ryan Fenton
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      More power to America, eh!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by paladin217 (226829)
      I am fairly certain that the percentage that comes from bribes is 0%.

      Simply put, if the art isn't there, even if the examiner doesn't like it, the allowance has to be given to the applicant. It is an unfortunate state of affairs, but it is a legal requirement. Simply put, the examiner was doing his job.
      • ... but if prior art is there, greasing the right palms might still get a patent granted.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          greasing the right palms might still get a patent granted

          Greasing the palms?! C'mon these patent assesors are obviously being paid with child-sex prostitutes!

          I mean once you go accusing an entire class of people of corruption without a scintilla of proof, why stop there?

      • by Anpheus (908711) on Friday June 08, 2007 @03:48AM (#19434713)
        No, he wasn't. Because 'obviousness' is the other part of what is necessary for an invention to be patentable. And 1-click sales are obvious to all developers, 1-click sales and 1-click anythings are the reason cookies exist, they are a natural and obvious extension of cookies.
    • by Fordiman (689627)
      Seriously.

      I mean, Amazon's 1-click patent should have failed on obviousness at the very least.
    • Additional limitations on an already issued patent are no big deal. Amazon already has the 1-click patent. All this does is keep someone from patenting on top of amazon, it doesn't really give them anything more.

      Here's how it works...
      Amazon patent A: (1 click)
      Amazon patent B: (1 click) + (other stuff)

      Anyone infringing B also infringes A. All Amazon has done is prevented someone else from patenting this particular flavor of (1 click)+(other stuff). They don't get anything extra because patent A alr
  • I bet it was theodp

    link [techdirt.com] to evidence.
    • by theodp (442580) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @11:13PM (#19433223)
      Congress didn't buy Amazon's argument [house.gov] that the failure of a defunct Jeff Bezos-funded company [salon.com] to award a $10,000 bounty offered by Tim O'Reilly [infotoday.com] for prior art that could bust Bezos' 1-Click patent was proof of 1-Click's novelty. The Commissioner for Patents, on the other hand, was duly impressed [flickr.com]. As was one of his patent Examiners [herald.co.uk], who broke ranks from a less-impressed fellow Examiner [theregister.co.uk] and re-Examiner [theregister.co.uk], to push through [flickr.com] last week's issuance of U.S. patent no. 7,222,087 [uspto.gov], a 'continuation' of 1-Click which adds innovative claims like contacting the recipient of an order via e-mail or a phone call [flickr.com] to obtain additional info.
      • by omeomi (675045)
        Wait...they have a patent on contacting somebody via email? WTF?
      • by Askmum (1038780)
        Incredible, that you can get a patent on a simple flowchart. Every 3-year old can see that that is nothing innovative or new!?

        I need to dig up my work did at school. I think there are a few patents waiting to be registred.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by zotz (3951)
        "which adds innovative claims like contacting the recipient of an order via e-mail or a phone call [flickr.com] to obtain additional info."

        I for one see those new claims as astounding innovations. I know that we were all thinking that we would have had to send a runner to get the info. I know, I know, some of you more advanced types may have been thinking "pony express" or even postal mail, but come on, you know most of you were thinking "send a runner" like me. Naturally, cavemen were thinking of going the
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, 2007 @10:49PM (#19433055)
    ... not just because of the problems they cause, but more importantly because of the blatant stupidity of the USPTO staff. Maybe we could sue them as individuals because of the bad effects of their obvious mistakes? Let's start naming names of the PTO officials who do stupid things, embarrass them in public.
    • Patents are necessary in many areas - however they have been taken too far especially in software. I would like to see some well needed patent reform.
      • by pipatron (966506) <pipatron@gmail.com> on Friday June 08, 2007 @03:51AM (#19434733) Homepage

        Patents might be useful in some areas - however they seriously damage software development. I would like to see some well needed patent reform.

        There.

      • by iamacat (583406)
        Minimally educated government clerks deciding the fate of inventions in the areas where they are not knowledgeable are necessary in many areas? You got to be kidding.
        • Woah, obvious troll there. Of course a system run by incompetents is likely to fail, but nothing about the principle of patents says they have to be administered by incompetents. That's just an implementation detail, albeit a rather important one.

          What would you think if we replaced current patent officers with an office that retained the services of suitably experienced professionals to vet applications, and then implemented a pricing structure that made it efficient for the little guy to apply for a sma

          • by iamacat (583406)
            Woah, obviously logically challenged person here. We can only, at most, discuss weather patents as currently provided for by law are essential. The law doesn't codify experience level of the reviews and instead relies on filers to be honest and thorough. Obviously this is ridiculous in todays business environment and allows a company with the most litigation money to win in 90% of cases, even if they stole and patented someone else's work.

            What you are doing is like arguing that "copyright" will benefit the
            • Woah, obviously logically challenged person here. We can only, at most, discuss weather patents as currently provided for by law are essential.

              Says who? The original comment to which you replied was talking about patent reform, as are many others in this discussion. You're the only one who's equating patents (the principle) with the current under-performance by the USPTO specifically.

              Since I doubt anyone is going to argue that the current poor state of affairs in the USPTO is a good thing, there's not

  • The whole patent rant is an assumed thing here on /. The whole list of possible solutions or fixes to the patent system has also been beaten to death, and requires no addressing. We don't need to name companies which use immoral tactics, we all know the names. We don't need to cry about all of the projects which have been destroyed. We all know it's commonplace and might as well get used to it.

    No sir-ree, there is noting to see here, just the USPTO doing their jobs just as well as ever.
    • The whole racism rant is an assumed thing here in the ghetto. The whole list of possible solutions or fixes to racism has also been beaten to death, and requires no addressing. We don't need to name companies which use immoral tactics, we all know the names. We don't need to cry about all of the projects which have been destroyed. We all know it's commonplace and might as well get used to it.

      No sir-ree, there is noting to see here, just the white cracker doing their jobs just as well as ever.

      Thankfully not everyone thought the above when it came to the systematic racist policies against niggers.

      • by dintech (998802)
        Ah the beady eyed troll strikes again. :P
      • Granted, the guy was using a sensitive topic, but his point is valid. He was sarcastically calling attention to the fact that doing nothing, or stating that because a practice is commonplace makes it valid, is not a productive way to induce change. Poor taste? Perhaps, but he got you to read it. I for one think it's amusing, and valid.

        *shrugs*

        My two cents,

        A.A

        P.S. I'm curious to see if I get modded a troll simply because I'm agreeing with him. Not that I mind, I've got karma to burn. *dons asbestos suit and
    • by grcumb (781340) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @11:24PM (#19433299) Homepage Journal

      The whole patent rant is an assumed thing here on /. The whole list of possible solutions or fixes to the patent system has also been beaten to death, and requires no addressing. We don't need to name companies which use immoral tactics, we all know the names. We don't need to cry about all of the projects which have been destroyed. We all know it's commonplace and might as well get used to it.

      All I can say in reply is that I hope nobody ever tried to tell that to Ghandi, Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela.

      The fact that an injustice persists, and that the abuses remain consistent in terms of action and actors is newsworthy. Talking about it until everyone gets sick of it is a valid tactic.

      Sometimes the only way to invade the fortress is by chipping away at the walls inch by bloody inch. It's boring, painful and creates no heroes right up until the walls finally do come down.

      • by dwater (72834)
        > All I can say in reply is that I hope nobody ever tried to tell that to Ghandi, Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela.

        "All I can say..."? Apparently not, since you then go on to say something else.

        In any case, are you trying to tell me that you seriously think no body told those guys they were fighting a lost cause. I'll take that bet.

        Of course people are going to try to dissuade you, for whatever reason. You can ignore them and stick to your guns, right?

        • by grcumb (781340)

          In any case, are you trying to tell me that you seriously think no body told those guys they were fighting a lost cause. I'll take that bet.

          Actually, I meant to suggest that anyone who suggested to Gandhi et alia that they should sit down and shut up would have sooner or later come to regret those words.

          But that's not what I actually wrote. So: Good point, but no bet. 8^)

    • by AltGrendel (175092) <ag-slashdotNO@SPAMexit0.us> on Thursday June 07, 2007 @11:28PM (#19433341) Homepage
      So this means that you've quit. You are no longer going to try and change the system (whatever that may mean to you).

      Go ahead and mod me flamebait or troll, but my point is that this isn't just about the 1 click patent. There's a company that has the patent on the breast cancer gene. Thats right, you can't try to cure a prevalent form of cancer without paying a frickin' royalty for something that wasn't even invented. At best you could say that they discovered it.

      We need to keep trying to stop this insanity.

      • by bidule (173941)
        Erm, maybe I don't remember correctly, but isn't that patent on using that gene to detect a predisposition to that kind of cancer? I don't think it extends to curing it. It's already diryt enough as it is, no need to go sensational.
        • I don't know exactly which case the OP is discussing, but the USPTO does allow the patenting of genes which are discovered, not invented, and as a holder of the patent of the gene, you do have the limited monopoly rights granted by patent law to the use of those genes by other parties. If it's just a marker gene, then any test that screens for cancer by looking at the allele and deciding if it indicates an elevated risk of cancer, you owe royalties. If it is actually a gene that can cause cancer and you
      • I haven't given up. I would love to see the whole patent system abolished as much as the next person, but we are accomplishing little by debating it (again) here. By going through the typical /. motions, we are accomplishing nothing. We are a virtually unrepresented party, and without representation (in government), we can not hope to do much more then feel about the issue.

        What we need is a game plan. Ghandi and Martin Luther King both had their entire nations behind them. We do not. If you ask anyone
    • by dwater (72834)
      > No sir-ree, there is noting to see here

      posting, yes, noting no.
    • by dbIII (701233)
      If you fix it there will be one reason less to outsource work and one reason less to laugh at America.
    • by zotz (3951)
      Well, I had this idea this morning and can't remember seeing it before.

      http://zotzbro.blogspot.com/2007/06/simple-idea-fo r-patent-reform.html [blogspot.com]

      Have you seen this before? If so, links would be welcome.

      all the best,

      drew
  • Voting is 1-click (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jihadist (1088389)

    ...soon we'll pay Amazon for the privilege of choosing between uniformly corrupt leaders with narrowly deviating opinions.

    Oh well, Plato warned us about this. We're in the age of oligarchy and timarchy. Next stop: authoritarianism, then third-world insignificance. But my PS/3 is so cool it makes it worth it, I swear!



    :wq

  • by wizardforce (1005805) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @11:06PM (#19433173) Journal
    there is only one solution to this madness and that is to use evil plan #236, yes that one- where the entirety of slashdot bands together and does some of our own patent trolling. slaghter this system with its own sword- call it patent slashdotting.
    • Ummm, if filing patent applications was free you might have a case. Alternatively, searching for prior art is free (other than your time) and you have an army of people who might potentially be interested. Granted, someone would still likely have to go to court to challenge it, but I'd wager there are quite a few companies who would love to see these patents go away, and would gladly take the opportunity
  • by PHAEDRU5 (213667)
    Somebody claims to own something kinda cool, so somebody invents something cooler.

    It's not *fundamental*, so watch it become worthless.

    I love that sensual, sand through the fingers, feeling.

    Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
  • This is ridiculous (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Zzyzygy (189883) *

    I already boycott Amazon because of their stupid patent nonsense; I wish there was a way I could boycott the USPTO, now that would be fun. . . .

    :-)

    -Scott
    • Make innovative inventions and do not patent them. That's how you boycott the USPTO. At least until the "first to patent wins" system comes into play.
      • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Thursday June 07, 2007 @11:59PM (#19433547) Homepage Journal
        Make innovative inventions and do not patent them. That's how you boycott the USPTO. At least until the "first to patent wins" system comes into play.

        Realistically, that's how it works now -- if you come up with a useful new algorithm, say, and Microsoft or Adobe or Oracle or someone else with much deeper pockets than yours patents it, do you think your prior art is going to stand up against their army of lawyers? Non-obviousness as a standard for rejecting a patent is already quite dead; prior art is going away fast.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by PAjamian (679137)

          Non-obviousness as a standard for rejecting a patent is already quite dead; prior art is going away fast.

          The Supreme Court's recent decision should do a lot to bring back the obviousness argument.

        • I remember a teacher telling me years ago...if you every decide you want to patent something write or print all necessary documents, put them in an tamper proof envelope and mail them to yourself. You'll have an official date stamped on the envelope when it gets back to you. I don't know if this would stand up to an army of lawyers but it seems like one of the best ways to prove that date of your "idea".
          • I don't think your idea would withstand a single good lawyer, let alone an army of them.

            As I understand it, one of the requirements for proving the date something was invented is that your documentation must be cooroborated by someone who understood it. Your scheme does not do this. This is why researchers in a corporate setting generally have their lab notebooks signed daily.
        • by sgtrock (191182)
          Do you bother to read Slashdot at all? If you do, how on Earth did you miss this? [supremecourtus.gov] One wonderful paragraph in particular states:

          (c) The flaws in the Federal Circuit's analysis relate mostly to its narrow conception of the obviousness inquiry consequent in its application of the TSM test. The Circuit first erred in holding that courts and patent examiners should look only to the problem the patentee was trying to solve. Under the correct analysis, any need or problem known in the field and addressed by the

          • Oh, I didn't miss the story about the Supreme Court ruling. But maybe you missed this story [slashdot.org]? ;)

            Seriously, there may be hints that things are going to change ... but I'll believe it when I see it. Meanwhile, the patent insanity continues and shows no real signs of slowing down.
            • by sgtrock (191182)
              Oh, I read it. I just think that particular examiner is in for a rude awakening. :)
    • by symbolic (11752)
      You're not alone in the boycott...Amazon has never seen a dime of mine. Now if only more Americans had a spine.
  • by readin (838620) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @11:18PM (#19433253)
    This patent stuff is madness, but I have a solution! I need your help. Come to my website and join the cause. All you have to do is click the link. Just one click, that's all. Just..um..one click..oh shoot, an Amazon lawyer is on the phone. Gotta go.
  • Why not patent (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cracked Pottery (947450) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @11:32PM (#19433369)
    using a Skilsaw to cut a piece of plywood. One-click is a trivial application of features built into a tool set that envisioned it in it's inception. It is worst of two stupid patent paradigms, the software patent and the business method patent. When will this sort of thing be recognized as the malignant lawyer-driven racket it is?
    • Re:Why not patent (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Friday June 08, 2007 @12:02AM (#19433559) Homepage Journal
      I'm not sure it's laywer-driven, really. Lawyers certainly benefit, of course, but corporate lawyers are basically just doing the bidding of their executive masters. At least in theory, law is a profession, and has a certain ethical code. Business has none.
    • It is worst of two stupid patent paradigms, the software patent and the business method patent.
      Calling clicking a link and contacting a customer by email or phone "software" or a "business method" is a bit of a stretch, don't you think?
  • Patent reform needed (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ylikone (589264) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @11:33PM (#19433381) Homepage
    It is obvious that corporate entities are patenting things that should never be patentable in the first place. It is also obvious that patents can't be eliminated completely. The Patent Reform Act of 2005/2007 is a step in the wrong direction! Sensible patent reform now!
    • by gtmaneki (992991)
      This is one of the examples showing the broken aspects of the US patent system. Too few patent examiners that are deluged with too many applications. The applicants can conveniently gloss over prior art. One of the more elegant ways that has been proposed for dealing with this is to open patents up to general comments during the examination phase (although this too could be abused, it is a step in the right direction).

      Then there's the whole "application" patent, where you can take something that is well-
  • The Real Enemy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @11:45PM (#19433459) Journal
    If anyone ever tries to patent "Stupidity", the USPTO can itself show plenty of prior art.

    Or as one poster suggested, "Corruption". This sham has been going on for years. Why haven't the fatcats in Congress done anything about it? Could corporate donations have anything to do it? Patents work in established big businesses favor. Witness Balmer's recent threats to us MS Patents to go after Linux customers. If big business whined about patents, you can bet their Congressmen on a string would change the law quick smart (as they did for the Mickey Mouse^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^HCopyright Extension act for Disney).

    Do patents work in small businesses favor? In theory they can. "In theory". By the very act of writing software (which has an absurd number of stupid patents) Microsoft daily must infringe hundreds of patents every day. Not just big business with patent exchange agreements, but smaller ones without. When was the last time a small business took Microsoft to the cleaners over such a patent? Eolas came close... kind of. No one else by a long shot.

    The problem isn't USPTO incompetence. It's Congressional Sloth and Greed. What can we do other than crying to the converted on Slashdot?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jez9999 (618189)
      Try and organize a revolution.

      "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." - Thomas Jefferson
      • > Try and organize a revolution.

        1. I thought that was what Slashdot is for?
        2. Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.
        3. Ok, but only if I get a T-shirt like Che.

        "Sometimes I think the world is going mad. Then I think, 'Ahh, Who Cares?' Then I think, 'Hey, I wonder what's for Dinner?'" - Jack Handey
  • by Anonymous Coward
    every single internet anything sends an email are they out of their minds?

    This is what the future will look like: you are living in the slums in the worst designed house (all good designs are copyrighted and you cant pay), with the worse job (you cannot afford the licenses for your buinsess practices, such as say, keeping a running total, or an electronic till with anything close to useful interfaces)(although you could become an enforcer of infractions of those laws and make enough for a a daily drink), if
  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Friday June 08, 2007 @12:28AM (#19433689)

    It wasn't vague, bizarre and obvious enough! Glad the government came in to clear things up.

    On a related note, will someone please wake me up, or yell April Fools, or give me the red pill or something to let me know that reality isn't some kind of joke?

  • by werdna (39029) on Friday June 08, 2007 @04:13AM (#19434803) Journal
    This is really pretty easy stuff guys. The examiner searches for prior art, and if he finds it, or an obvious combination of it, badda-bing, lovely rejection. If not, he is bound by statute to allow the patent, period. 35 USC s. 102 ("A person shall be entitled to a patent unless" there exists invalidating art). We all know you hate the law and the standards, but give this poor examiner a break, will you? He HAS to allow the patent UNLESS he comes up with a case to reject it. He HAS to do it. He HAS to. Suggesting bad faith or corruption as the cause of the examiner's allowance is obnoxious and naive.

    The examiner did his research, and gave it his best shot. By amendment and argument, Amazon shot down his case. Nobody came to the rescue with any new art, and the examiner didn't find any. Indeed, despite the FAMOUSNESS of this battle, NOBODY has come up with any art to defeat the new claims or the old ones.

    There are better battles to pitch than this one.

    • by Scarblac (122480)

      This is the section 102 you refer to: USC 35 s 102 [cornell.edu]. It is followed by section 103 [cornell.edu], "Conditions for patentability; non-obvious subject matter", which states:

      (a) A patent may not be obtained though the invention is not identically disclosed or described as set forth in section 102 of this title, if the differences between the subject matter sought to be patented and the prior art are such that the subject matter as a whole would have been obvious at the time the invention was made to a person having ordinar

      • "If the examiner finds that the claimed invention lacks novelty or differs only in an obvious manner from what is found in the prior art, the claims may also be rejected"

        And

        "Even if the subject matter sought to be patented is not exactly shown by the prior art, and involves one or more differences over the most nearly similar thing already known, a patent may still be refused if the differences would be obvious."

        "Obvious" in the context the patent office means is not "Hey I could have thought of that!"

        It's
        • by sgtrock (191182)

          I'd say that the Supreme Court disagrees [supremecourtus.gov] with you, the USPTO, and the Federal Circuit Court on the definition of "obvious." From KSR v Teleflex:

          (c) The flaws in the Federal Circuit's analysis relate mostly to its narrow conception of the obviousness inquiry consequent in its application of the TSM test. The Circuit first erred in holding that courts and patent examiners should look only to the problem the patentee was trying to solve. Under the correct analysis, any need or problem known in the field and a

    • by mavenguy (126559)
      One thing that bothers me about this is that this examiner mad at least one comment [herald.co.uk] on a board or mailing list that, IMHO, exceeded what is prohibited by PTO policy [uspto.gov]. Although the post has the typical disclaimer as a personal opinion and not an official PTO position it still violates this policy.

      Although he appears to be defending the work of others (either on this application or others; the record shows lots of examiner reassignments on this one) it still comprises lots of statements concerning "the vali
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jtheletter (686279)

      NOBODY has come up with any art to defeat the new claims or the old ones
      Example, ready go:
      Bartender? Scotch please, on my tab.

      And for the true regular at the bar: [Raises index finger at bartender]

      Oh but I forgot, it's "on the internets" so it's somehow novel and nonobvious. :/
  • This continuation adds claims like contacting the recipient of an order via e-mail or a phone call to obtain additional info.

    Henceforth, the Amazon patent shall no longer be known as the "1-click patent", but the "1-click and lots of hassle patent".

  • I know a lot of your guys are Americans, but this will help you.

    All I can say is, if you're thinking of setting up an online store, for God's sake, do it outside the US. Their patent laws are fucking ridiculous, and only when massive amount of business are driven to a country that doesn't implement US-style patent law (European countries, for example) may the adminisatration be forced to fix it. Until then, boycott the US. Sorry to say it, but otherwise, fuckwits like Amazon and the USPTO will remain com
    • I agree,

      US Software patents are stupid beyond belief, the original purpose of patents was to protect innovators, and encourage innovation .. software patents as implemented in the USA seems to do the exact opposite and since there are now so many software patents on trivial and obvious things any program will infringe multiple patents and so the only way to protect yourself is to have a set of patents yourself and participate in MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) with the other Patent holders
      • by zotz (3951)
        This idea I had this morning might help and is simple enough that it may have a chance of getting through:

        http://zotzbro.blogspot.com/2007/06/simple-idea-fo r-patent-reform.html [blogspot.com]

        Patents must be sought as "defensive purposes only" or regular...

        Regular, gets much more careful examination, must get everything right from the break.

        "defensive only" last twice as long, can't be used to bring a suit, only to defend oneself.

        This situation would allow people seeking patents only to prevent them from being given to so
        • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          its a stupid idea. quit crapflooding your stupid idea you idiot.
  • This mess reflects the real problem with the patent system - it is an abused system, but for a "little fish" to defend himself against abuse by the "bigger fish" he has to perpetuate the further abuse of the system! Insanity!

    Real-world example: I'm working with someone one a great idea that has the potential to be huge in a particular industry. Its implementation is Intenet-based. Now the guy who is driving the idea wants to get a patent to protect his idea, since there are many big players in the indus

    • by zotz (3951)
      I think an idea I had this morning has the potential to to fix this problem...

      http://zotzbro.blogspot.com/2007/06/simple-idea-fo r-patent-reform.html [blogspot.com]

      I would like your thoughts...

      all the best,

      drew
    • by geekoid (135745)
      First off, in the US it is NOT the first to patent it. If anyone can prove that had something before someone else patented it, it will be overturned.

      This mean there are other ways to protect your self. Put a notarized copy of the idea in an envelope, seal it. Sign your name across the seal and mail it to your self. Then put that envelope into another envelope and mail that to your-self. Now you have dated proof of your idea.

      That's not even going into the fact that is several different people are working on
  • It's a bit naive solution but please enlighten me if such think would work?
    Can't you just open your internet stores in Europe and allow shipping to US or just forward the order to US-based warehouse? In EU we can do [0-9]+clicks, why can't you just move the business to Europe ?
  • If, according to the USPTO, phoning up a customer to get more information is innovative and non-obvious, then going to the toilet to piss and shit is equally innovative and non-obvious. And all USPTO patent examiners are in breach of my patent for this, unless instead they choose to piss and shit themselves at their desk.
  • ... can be found in Babylonian cuneiform tablets. That part of the prior art is the "open account".

    Customer walks into store, points to item, and says "I want that and put it on my tab." Store clerk recognizes the customer, provides the item, and puts it on the customer's tab. In ancient Babylonia the customer accounts were kept on cuneiform tablets. Later they were kept in other ways, such as on ink on paper.

    The other part of the prior art is how the customer is recognized electronically. That method
  • Adding claims generally DECREASES the scope of your patent, it does not increase it. The claims that discuss contacting a user make the patent more limited in its legal coverage. It is often the case that as prosecution continues on an application, claims are added or modified to decrease the scope of your claims and allow your patent to become allowable.
  • They can patent calling a customer to check up on an order? That's great! I'm filing a patent tomorrow for "Calling one's mother on mothers' day", and "Just calling to say I Love You" I'm going to make a mint. Actually - I should probably try to patent "Calling people to market products they don't want", and do some public good.
  • Just another reason for the US to move to a first to file patent system, under which a continuation application is more of an anomly, and would certainly be harder to get.

    A first to file system generally reduces uncertainty, especially for licencees and consumers. It encourages companies to file promptly, and doesn't introduce unnecessary delays in the grant of a patent. For example, the delay of 7 years in granting the RSA patent wouldn't happen under first-to-file; instead it would have been granted to

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