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Patents United States The Almighty Buck

USPTO Reaffirms 1-Click Claims 'Old And Obvious' 80

Posted by timothy
from the wham-wham-wham dept.
theodp writes "After USPTO Examiner Mark A. Fadok rejected Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' 1-Click Patent claims as 'old and obvious,' Amazon canceled and refiled its 1-Click claims in a continuation application as it requested an Oral Appeal, a move that smacked of a good old-fashioned stalling tactic. But the move may have backfired, as Fadok has just completed his review of the continuation app and concluded that all of the refiled 1-Click claims should be rejected, providing explanations of why the Board of Patent Appeals was wrong to reverse his earlier decision after listening to Amazon's lawyers in September. In October, USPTO Examiner Matthew C. Graham rejected most of the 1-Click claims as part of the reexam requested by LOTR actor Peter Calveley, a decision that attorneys for Amazon are currently trying to work around with some creative wordsmithing. Can't see how all of this means 'less work for the overworked Patent and Trademark Office.'"
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USPTO Reaffirms 1-Click Claims 'Old And Obvious'

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  • by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Tuesday December 25, 2007 @04:20PM (#21816756)
    Hurray!

    Is Amazon really this clueless, or are they just not in control of their lawyers? Are the lawyers just going after whatever they think is billable?

    And does Amazon *really* think that what makes their site so appealing has *NOTHING* to do with 1-Click?

    I really hate it when morons get rich; it just encourages the rest of them. :(
    • by k_187 (61692) on Tuesday December 25, 2007 @04:52PM (#21816894) Journal
      Given that at least one other business entity has licensed 1-click from amazon (Apple, I don't know if there are others), I'd imagine that this is an attempt to keep that revenue stream open and flowing.
      • by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Tuesday December 25, 2007 @05:01PM (#21816930)
        Given that at least one other business entity has licensed 1-click from amazon (Apple, I don't know if there are others), I'd imagine that this is an attempt to keep that revenue stream open and flowing.

        Given how much Amazon must've spent in legal fees over this thus far, they'd better be making a whole hell of a lot from the licensees to be making a profit.
    • who the hell says their site is appealing? You ever been there? lol. Anyway I'm guessing that this is the usual lose the dispute and get fired, win the dispute and get a commission situation for the lawyers. Everyone knows the high level execs basically write an e-mail to the legal department every week that says "To do this week: get us money and don't let anyone take any from us in the meantime" and that's about all they care about.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by NewInput (1090567)
      I know this is going against the grain, but the one-click patent wasn't obvious to me. When I first enabled it on my amazon account and I clicked the link I *didn't expect the transaction to be complete*. I'm a pretty bright software engineer working at a startup, and I honestly didn't comprehend how it worked until I saw it. I assumed that it would be one click followed by a confirmation.

      On reflection, I realized that it was because when looking at how to do an e-commerce system no matter how short you
      • Re: but it's at least clever to allow error correction after the fact instead of forcing a check before.

        In our business, customers fax in orders which they can cancel as long as it happens before 4 PM (ship time). You can return goods bought at stores within two weeks if they haven't been opened or are in original condition. There are thousands of examples of this predating computers. This is just a typical example of IP gone bad. In fact, patenting software is like patenting math. It just doesn't make sens
  • by devjj (956776) * on Tuesday December 25, 2007 @04:40PM (#21816840)
    Why is a company capable of such awesome technical inginuity (Amazon Web Services) getting hung up on something so utterly ridiculous? This just smacks of leadership that is a cut below the calibre of its employees.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ScrewMaster (602015)
      This just smacks of leadership that is a cut below the calibre of its employees.

      If by "cut below" you mean "sub-basement" I'd say you're right on the mark.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 25, 2007 @05:01PM (#21816932)

      This just smacks of leadership that is a cut below the calibre of its employees.


      Is there a single case in the entire world that is the converse?

      Incompetent management is pretty much required now in order to create work through inefficiency during the slow collapse in capitalism we are seeing.

      If not for idiot managers who like to see everything done incorrectly at least three times before the job is done right, then many of us simply would be out of work.

      Intelligence, knowledge, wisdom, skill and efficiency are NOT desirable qualities in management (in a failing capitalist democracy).

      Be glad all our managers are idiots, it makes work for us.
      • by clang_jangle (975789) on Tuesday December 25, 2007 @06:21PM (#21817368) Journal

        Incompetent management is pretty much required now in order to create work through inefficiency during the slow collapse in capitalism we are seeing. If not for idiot managers who like to see everything done incorrectly at least three times before the job is done right, then many of us simply would be out of work. Intelligence, knowledge, wisdom, skill and efficiency are NOT desirable qualities in management (in a failing capitalist democracy). Be glad all our managers are idiots, it makes work for us.


        A pity I've used all my mod points, that is darn insightful. But I must offer one small correction, the US is not a democracy -- it's a "democratic republic", a form of representative government which incorporates some features of a democracy. The most commonly seen pure democracy would be a lynch mob, which is why the founding fathers devised the system they did. Not a bad system really, but it requires a tad better than rampant apathy and cynicism to to make it work for us.

        Now Corporate America, they really know how to use representative government, so they get excellent results. Maybe some day "we the people" will wake up to the power of that example and reclaim our rightful place as the true citizens of this land...and demote capitalism from the official religion of the US to it's proper, original, status of economic tool.

        Deprogammers Needed!
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by dabraun (626287)

          But I must offer one small correction, the US is not a democracy -- it's a "democratic republic", a form of representative government which incorporates some features of a democracy.

          Actually, the US is a "constitutional republic" - we have a constitution which defines hard boundaries, we have representatives (who represent the public - i.e. republic). Most if not all subregions hold democratic elections to elect their representatives. This is not actually required in the original constitution (later ammen

        • But I must offer one small correction, the US is not a democracy -- it's a "democratic republic", a form of representative government which incorporates some features of a democracy.

          That canard is getting old [slashdot.org].

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by clang_jangle (975789)
            Yes, and I really am a bit tired of delivering it. But so long as there are so many who believe they live in a democracy it still needs to be said.
            • by nasch (598556)
              You should realize that there is more than one definition of "democracy", and the US either is or is not a democracy, depending on the definition in use. So you should pin down which definition someone is using before you start telling them they're wrong. I think after you each describe your respective definitions, there won't even be any argument to have. Hm, maybe that is why this keeps going so long. :-)
            • You didn't follow my link, nor do you know what a "canard" is, do you? There's no conflict between being a democracy and being a constitutional republic--it's people like you who spread misunderstanding and ignorance that I'm sick of.
              • Oh, so you think then that the US is a pure democracy? Or that a few democratic features make a democracy? Sorry, you'd best brush up on your poli sci. And no, I did not follow your link. As you seem capable only of baseless criticism I didn't feel much need...probably a lesson in that about "tone". :)

                • Oh, so you think then that the US is a pure democracy? Or that a few democratic features make a democracy? Sorry, you'd best brush up on your poli sci.

                  You're the one that needs brushing up. The US is a democracy. The US is also a constitutional republic. The US is not, however, a direct democracy. Not all democracies are direct democracies. Furthermore, I've gone through this routine three or four different times this month alone.

                  • You don't say! Maybe you should stop then... I am not interested in a semantic argument, which is what you are attempting. Read and understand:
                    http://www.foundingfathers.info/federalistpapers/fed10.htm
                    http://www.trimonline.org/website/deceived.htm
                    • You don't say! Maybe you should stop then... I am not interested in a semantic argument, which is what you are attempting.

                      Given that the topic of hand is semantics, I'm wondering what kind of argument is better. Perhaps we should discuss football instead?

                    • The discussion is about democracy; but you seem to be attempting to dilute the definition of the word. Not that I blame you, you appear to believe what the neocons want you to believe and all. Trouble is, it's incorrect.
                    • BTW, class of '77 here. :) We had real education back then...[sigh]
                    • "Democracy", in the way that most actual people use the word today, is a term that applies to the American system of government. Now, it is true that this country wasn't much of a democracy when it was founded, since only male landowners could vote. But successive years of reforms changed that. If you'd bothered following my links (which, incidentally, is good form if you're going to provide links of your own), you'd have found this comment I made awhile back:

                      Considering that America is both a democracy *and* a constitutional republic, evidently neither do you. A democracy is any system in which the population at large controls (in theory, is) the government. A constitutional system is one in which a specific set of rules, known as the "constitution", limits the authority of the government. A republic is any system of government where (a) there is no monarchy and (b) government officials are supposed to represent some subset of the population.

                      Nineteenth-century America is an example of an undemocratic republic--only male landowners could vote originally, though by the current day all adult citizens can vote. Current-day Britain is an example of a democratic, constitutional monarchy--while it is not a republic, there is still an (unwritten) constitution limiting the monarchy (otherwise it would be an absolute monarchy), and democracy exists.

                      Furthermore...

                      Not that I blame you, you appear to believe what the neocons want you to believe and all.

                      Something tells me I'm going

                    • Forgive me for saying so, but the self-referencing links prove nothing but that you believe yourself to be an authority on democracy. I tend to expect a bit more in a discussion...
                      The gist of your argument appears to be, "The US is a democracy, and the proof is that I've been saying so for a long time."

                      Now, do you see how that doesn't actually work?
                    • No, the gist of my argument is, "you're setting up a false dichotomy." The self-referencing is only because I loathe repeating myself. And the gist of your argument is, "no it isn't, you neocon fascist, here's a link".
                    • There is no false dichotomy, read the Federalist Papers and the Constitution yourself. Until you do, you're in over your head.

                      And the gist of your argument is, "no it isn't, you neocon fascist, here's a link".


                      A link to some text of the Federalist Papers, yes. Slightly more authoritative than your highly-valued personal opinion.

                      Now do you get it? :D
                    • There is no false dichotomy, read the Federalist Papers and the Constitution yourself.

                      I have. (I'm also well aware that the Federalist Papers were written for an era and in an era where women and blacks could not vote, and neither could anyone who didn't own any land--if you are seriously advocating returning to that system then please say so openly.) The meanings of words change over time. "Democracy" is one of these words, and the use of the term "democracy" to refer to elected representative governments is well-attested, especially when those governments allow suffrage to all adult citi

                    • Well, you seem happy with your shifty definition, I guess that's what's important...

                      I think I'm done arguing with you now. Anyone who feels that citing his own previous posts is adequate "proof" is probably education-proof.
                    • I wasn't citing them as proof, I was citing them to avoid repeating myself--something I told you two posts ago. Until you improve your reading comprehension, though, I think the Federalist Papers will remain somewhat beyond you.
      • I'm curious as to what factors you see in the economy that makes you believe we are experiencing a "slow collapse in capitalism we are seeing."

        I think that is rhetoric that has no basis in fact.
      • by gilboad (986599)
        Sadly enough I spent all my mod points.
        I plan to magnify your post, print it and hang it in my cubicle.

        Call me suicidal, I always wanted to find in, in person, just how long (and cold) do welfare lines get in mid January...

        - Gilboa

    • by Frosty Piss (770223) on Tuesday December 25, 2007 @05:07PM (#21816974)

      Why is a company capable of such awesome technical inginuity (Amazon Web Services) getting hung up on something so utterly ridiculous?
      Amazon is in a very competitive market that centers around their Web site. Every little thing that they can keep their competitors from being able to use on competing ecom sites is a win for Amazon, and they have the money to waste on the little stuff.

      Like Wal*Mart, Amazon is responsible for destroying a large part of many cities independent retailers because although many people talk a strong talk about supporting a healthy local economy by frequenting small businesses, most of these same people will jump to save $2 on a $30 purchase by buying through these faceless uncaring mega corporations.

      So really, while we rile against the practices of companies like Amazon and Wal*Mart, we rarely actually put our money where our mouths are.

      When you shop at book sellers like Powell's World of Books [powells.com], you may pay a little bit more, but you're supporting a healthy business model that is centered around both the employee and customer, instead of lining Jeff Bezo's pocket even more.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Three words: Mod Parent Up. This behavior, and the backlash to big box stores, have been pretty obvious to the observer since the advent of the supermarket. As an aside though, Jeff Bezo is probably paying his employees fairly and paying a whackload of taxes to boot.

        Disclaimer: As a Canucklehead I know extremely little about American corporate law other than someone will eventually get screwed when a CEO siphons off a billion dollars of company money to buy ridiculous crap.
      • by MushMouth (5650)
        This is simply not true. In many ways Amazon has increased the business of your local book seller, your local USED bookseller should be offering their used books on Amazon.

        BTW I hear this statement that Amazon has killed local book stores repeated, yet when I actually look at statistics, number of shops open today vs those open 10 years ago, in San Francisco, there are MORE open today than there were 10 years ago. Most of the ones currently open were open then.
        • This is simply not true. In many ways Amazon has increased the business of your local book seller

          Used booksellers may be able to sell a few more titles on Amazon, but it's not going to float them when Amazon takes all their new book sales, and drives the price of used books into the range of pennies of profit.

          Likewise, selling used books on Amazon does not support the local employment rolls.

          In the short term, it's good for consumers, but over time the destruction of local economy these mega-retailers cause

          • Likewise, selling used books on Amazon does not support the local employment rolls.
            Sure it does. Those used books aren't going to receive, catalog, store, retrieve, box, mail and bill for themselves.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by larry bagina (561269)
        bookstores should give away books for free and make money selling tshirts at poetry readings. Or does that only apply to musicians?
        • by aussie_a (778472)
          Umm, no. Writers should give away books for free and make money selling tshirts. That is if you want a comparable situation to musicians. However unlike musicians, writers have realized for quite some time it isn't a get rich quick scheme and have been able to survive with their old model in the day of the p2p piracy.
          • The print industry is lucky...books take longer to rip AND to burn :D My guess is that the old model will probably thrive for as long as the old technology stays around. Good writers write because they love to write, and musicians are the same. The get-rich-quick-ers exist in both industries, as well as every other industry. Both musicians and writers have it tough because there isn't a large enough middle ground between selling 0 copies and millions to support everybody, and book & record sales aren'
      • by johannesg (664142) on Wednesday December 26, 2007 @02:29AM (#21819672)
        Do the math with me, will you? Let's say I want to buy the OpenGL Programming Guide. My local bookstore has it for 60 euro (http://www.selexyz.nl/pages/detail_v2/S1/10030001940805-2-10090000000010.aspx?showbreadcrumb=1 [selexyz.nl], or I can order from Amazon for $50 (http://www.amazon.com/OpenGL-Programming-Guide-Official-Learning/dp/0321481003/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1198653310&sr=8-1 [amazon.com]). That's only 35 euro, or almost half what I pay at the local bookstore. Shipping cost is a bit harder to determine, but for me to travel by bike + train + fairly long walk to the above-mentioned bookstore will also cost me 11 euro, plus 3-4 hours. And these price differences are fairly normal for this type of book.

        How about pockets, then? I can buy a single Harry Potter book in english for 17 euro, or in dutch for 20 euro (http://www.selexyz.nl/pages/search_v2/S2/SEARCHRESULTPRODUCTS.aspx [selexyz.nl]). Or I can go to Amazon and buy six Harry Potter books for $34 (http://www.amazon.com/Harry-Potter-Paperback-Box-Books/dp/0439887453/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1198653687&sr=1-2 [amazon.com]). That's 24 euro - almost the price of a single book locally!

        I'd love to support my local bookstore, but they *really* have to do better than this to compete. For years we were told that because of the strong dollar, import books were simply expensive. Now that the dollar is weak they don't use the excuse anymore, but we still pay through the nose for books.
        • by berashith (222128)
          the books in the US still have the price in Canadian dollars printed on them at nearly double the US price, even though parity has been achieved.
      • Like Wal*Mart, Amazon is responsible for destroying a large part of many cities independent retailers because although many people talk a strong talk about supporting a healthy local economy by frequenting small businesses, most of these same people will jump to save $2 on a $30 purchase by buying through these faceless uncaring mega corporations.

        OK, so what if your local small bookstore doesn't have what you want? You can certainly have them order it, wait over a week if not two for it to come in, and t
    • This makes plenty of fscking sense when you remember that the company is large and only some of them are morons. Companies act a lot less monolithically than most people imagine.
      • Companies act a lot less monolithically than most people imagine.

        Yes, but a lot more moronically.
    • Makes sense to me (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Why is a company capable of such awesome technical inginuity (Amazon Web Services) getting hung up on something so utterly ridiculous? This just smacks of leadership that is a cut below the calibre of its employees.

      Well, I've had to write code that hits AWS, and I'm not *that* impressed with it. It's a set of Web Services. The documentation isn't particularly good, and the interfaces aren't particularly good. It's decently usable.

      But I also fail to see how this is "utterly ridiculous" as a patent. (Here

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by BBandCMKRNL (1061768)

        But I also fail to see how this is "utterly ridiculous" as a patent. (Here we go again.) The relevant criterion is "non-obviousness". When Bezos told his programmers to implement "one-click", their first implementation took two clicks: buy, then confirm. So he told them to go do it again. It's gotten a little better since 1999, but at that time, that was the thinking of programmers: you have to confirm everything.

        Just because something has never been done on the internet before, doesn't make it "non-obvious".

        One of my grandfather's brothers was a dairy farmer. He could call the feed store and say, "This is John Brown. I need x tons of feed tomorrow." The feed would show up the next day and the cost was added to his account which he paid on a periodic basis.

        This is the non-internet version of 'one-click' ordering. It is "utterly ridiculous" to grant a patent for the Amazon "one-click" ordering.

    • Why is a company capable of such awesome technical inginuity (Amazon Web Services) getting hung up on something so utterly ridiculous? This just smacks of leadership that is a cut below the calibre of its employees.

      One word: investors. Investors see patents as very, very valuable assets to be defended. If you defend an absurd patent, you have a chance at $xy million dollars. If you simply say "LOL J/K!" and walk away, you've got a guaranteed loss of $xy million dollars. Yeah, you waste the salary of

    • Simple - the Project Leader of AWS is not the Marketing Director.
  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Tuesday December 25, 2007 @05:21PM (#21817038)
    ...the USPTO has implemented this new one-click patent denial system, but due to a software bug, it only grants patents at this time. The workaround involves a few manual steps; click on the "Help" link for more information.
  • by MushMouth (5650) on Tuesday December 25, 2007 @05:36PM (#21817116) Homepage
    19 out of 69 claims were originally rejected, not the entire one click patent. So much of the patent is still considered original and non-obvious.
  • Keep it up Amazon (Score:4, Interesting)

    by symbolic (11752) on Tuesday December 25, 2007 @05:42PM (#21817154)
    This is one reason you haven't received a dime of my money. Hasn't hurt me a bit, because EVERYTHING you sell can be acquired from other places, and from what I've seen, often at better prices.
  • I say, if you do not succeed with 1-click try for double-click and try and make more $$$.
  • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Tuesday December 25, 2007 @09:27PM (#21818272)
    Given the importance that Amazon places upon this particular patent, how many times can Amazon keep going back to the USPTO to get their patent reviewed? At some point, is the patent just ruled invalid, or can they keep this in limbo forever?
  • If a company has a patent rejected and it even seems abusive to the system, they'll risk a penalty of not being able to get *any* patent through for some time period. Just so this idiocity is actually *felt* by the company so clearly abusing the system and trying to sneak things in. It would be a nail in the coffin for companies that are pretty much founded with this idea as their business model! It doesn't have to be much, but enough so it's felt and companies need to think things through before taking ris
  • Well if they are geting less done they are obliously doing less work.

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

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