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1-Click Smacked Down Again, While Reexam Languishes 72

theodp writes "Pressed on Amazon's 1-Click patent, then-USPTO Chief Q. Todd Dickinson got testy: "I make this challenge all the time. If you're aware of prior art out there that invalidates a patent that is existing, file a re-examination. We'll be happy to take a look at it." Really? It's been 3+ years since unemployed actor Peter Calveley submitted prior art that triggered a USPTO reexamination of the 1-Click patent. Still no 'final answer' from the USPTO. To put things in perspective, 1-Click inventor Jeff Bezos once proposed a three-year lifespan for patents (later retracted), let alone patent reexams. In the meantime, other patent examiners have repeatedly smacked down 1-Click — the latest (non-final) rejection was issued on Feb. 10th with Sandra Bullock's help."
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1-Click Smacked Down Again, While Reexam Languishes

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  • Invented? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by symbolic ( 11752 ) on Saturday February 21, 2009 @07:58PM (#26944873)

    Please don't say that the one-click experience was "invented" by Jeff Bezos - it completely trivializes the entire creative process. It reduces those who are truly innovative to the status of mere dilettantes.

  • by Xylaan ( 795464 ) on Saturday February 21, 2009 @09:41PM (#26945481)
    Your analogy really isn't that far off, however, I think it all comes down to the invention in question.

    In your example, I think the inventive step is how your car figures out how you're close to it, but does so in a way that is effective with one half of the system required to be low power (the keyfob), and is accurate enough that it doesn't unlock while you're not present, as well as determining that you want it to be unlocked, and you're just not walking around with your keys inside your house (which could trigger it, based on how close you are). A workable, comprehensive, and accurate solution to this could be fairly non-trival.

    On the other hand, you're comparing it to the 1-click patent. Now, I think that the one-click is an excellent example of patenting it based on 'while no one has done it before, so it must be inventive'. Remember, when this patent was filed, e-commerce was still relatively new. Businesses were still trying to convince everyone that it was safe to use the internet to buy things. As such, the shopping cart analogues were the most popular.

    As part of a shopping cart system, assuming they have some sort of login (which was popular then, and is still quite popular even now), they will have information about the customer. If that customer has purchased from you before, they could even have all of the financial information necessary to place an order. At the time, however, most businesses didn't keep full credit card information on file after a transaction had completed, if for no other reason to avoid potential liability if that information was compromised. But they COULD have easily done so (as the customer had to enter it the previous time they placed an order).

    So Amazon's 'inventive' step was to say, hey, we should ask the customer if we can save this information, and then use it next time they order so we don't have to ask again. So their inventive step was storing the financial and address information in a database, and looking it up later. While it hadn't been done before, there wasn't a technical reason, but a social reason. To many technologists, the inventive step seems to be very weak, and shouldn't have passed the muster of 'non-obvious'.

    So, your analogy isn't really flawed. Just your choice of the invention is a bit stronger. A slightly closer analogy would be basing opening your door by passing an RFID-enabled keyfob over a sensor which is part of the doorframe. Its range would be only a few inches from the door. Now, that would be closer to the 1-click, as I have such a system where I work where the RFID is embedded in my work ID. As RFID enabled door locks already exist, I would hope it would be difficult to get a patent on an RFID enabled car door lock.
  • Re:Invented? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Saturday February 21, 2009 @09:54PM (#26945535) Journal
    If you want to talk about trivializing the creative process, how about the word "content". Whoever came up with that one, a description of culture in terms of its relationship to its delivery mechanism that treats it as a sort of homogeneous goo, pulled off perhaps the most dramatic trivialization of the creative process in contemporary history.
  • Re:From May,2000 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by idlemachine ( 732136 ) on Saturday February 21, 2009 @10:50PM (#26945809)
    The summary really isn't difficult to comprehend:
    • Nine years ago the USPTO chief said "Don't whine about prior art, submit evidence of it" regarding the 1-Click patent.
    • Three+ years ago, such evidence was submitted.
    • Today: Amazon still retains the patent, while the promised re-exam has yet to occur.

    So yes, if you only focus on one element of the entire summary I can understand why you might think that its someone other than you who is being a "dipshit".

  • Re:Obiousness? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Saturday February 21, 2009 @10:51PM (#26945811)

    The obviousness test relies upon prior art. If somebody does something, and nobody can show that any part of it has been done before, then surely it's not obvious?

  • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @01:30AM (#26946509)

    They weren't saying 1-Click wasn't obvious. It was obvious.

    What wasn't obvious was to patent it.

    Sure they were shocked... no-one before thought such a simple and obvious thing could be classified as an "invention"

    The "innovation" was getting the patent office to recognize such an ordinary everyday thing as a number of mouse-clicks in UI design as something patentable.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 22, 2009 @04:34PM (#26951067)

    I believe you miss the point. If the re-exam happens to take as long as the patent has left to live, and this sure seems like it could, how does the re-exam help? If the system for fixing things happen to be unable to fix things before they are no longer relevant, then there *isn't* a system for actually fixing anything.

I go on working for the same reason a hen goes on laying eggs. -- H.L. Mencken