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USPTO's 1-Click Indecisiveness Enters 5th Year 36

theodp writes "When it comes to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' 1-Click patent, the USPTO is an agency that just can't say no. Or yes. It's now been 4+ years since actor Peter Calveley submitted prior art that triggered a USPTO reexamination of the 1-Click patent. Still no 'final answer' from the USPTO, although an Examiner recently issued yet another Final Rejection of 1-Click related claims (pdf), admonishing Amazon for making him 'sift through hundreds of submitted references to identify what applicant allegedly has already submitted,' which he complained is 'adding an undue burden' to his workload. Looks like Bezos' 2000 pledge of 'less work for the overworked Patent and Trademark Office' isn't working out so well in practice. Not too surprising — after all, Amazon did inform Congress that it 'has modified its specific [patent] reform proposals from the year 2000.'"
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USPTO's 1-Click Indecisiveness Enters 5th Year

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  • by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara.hudson@b ... u d s o n . c om> on Saturday February 20, 2010 @05:40PM (#31213342) Journal
    Paging Captain Obvious: If you can't figure it out in 5 years, then the application is obviously too vague, or otherwise defective, to be granted a patent!

    Gee, do I have to do ALL your thinking for you?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      That's because Amazon has patented 1-click patenting as well and they won't let anyone use it.
      • That's because Amazon has patented 1-click patenting as well and they won't let anyone use it.

        that's okay - I've got the ultimate, canonical prior art - one-click trolling, dating back to USENET and FIDONET :-)

    • Peter Calveley...

      I was in a "short film" once, too. Does that make me an "actor"?

      Good grief.

      Actually, since I own a telescope, I'm an astrophysicist.

  • by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) on Saturday February 20, 2010 @05:42PM (#31213368)
    ... if the USPTO had a '1-click' accept/reject option for their patent/trademark approval systems. Unfortunately either Jeff Bezos or Peter Calveley beat them to it.
  • Bureaucracies... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Saturday February 20, 2010 @05:44PM (#31213386)

    The safest thing for any bureaucracy to do is nothing at all. You can't get blamed for making a bad decision, and you get to claim that you don't have enough resources to do the job, thus vying for an increased budget next year.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ae1294 ( 1547521 )

      Wow, that's insightful and explains 90% of our entire government in two sentence... You just need to add one more line to explain why they pass absurd laws and your training will be complete...

      and thus you will be promptly shot...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Overzeetop ( 214511 )

        Oh, that's easy. You pass laws so that decisions don't ever have to be made. The "perfect" law is one which exactly embodies the intent and leaves no room for interpretation. In doing so, you relieve the bureaucracy of any responsibility or culpability. Mission accomplished.

        (the fact that one cannot successfully legislate without unintentional - or intentional - loopholes provides the ongoing necessity of further legislation)

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          I would say this is in direct disagreement with your previous statement.

          Congress typically passes vague laws so that the responsibility of the effect of the law is lessened or more easily deflected.

          It is up to the courts to reject laws as too vague and require them to have more specificity.

          Laws would be much less absurd if they left no room for interpretation. #1 this would lead to a fear in passing laws and #2 this would reduce their breadth

        • I think I read a book about this...

          The other thing you can do is make living normal life immoral and illegal. The culture will keep people from complaining, and the laws will keep power distributed properly.

        • by yuhong ( 1378501 )
          Yea, command and control and unthinking drones.
  • Waiting on Bilksi (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 20, 2010 @06:00PM (#31213528)
    USPTO is waiting on Bilski. It will come soon and state whether a business method (and not software as is commonly said) is valid. USPTO doesn't want to have to re-decide this afterward, and only if business method patents are approved of will it get approved.
    • Re:Waiting on Bilksi (Score:4, Informative)

      by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Saturday February 20, 2010 @07:44PM (#31214212)

      It's not really clear to me from looking at the file wrapper exactly why the USPTO hasn't sent out another office action yet. Maybe, as you say, they are waiting on Bilski (a decision will probably be out around April or May of this year). In the meantime, Amazon keeps filing more references for the examiners to consider, including as recently as 20 January 2010. The re-exam folks get to spend a lot more time with their applications than regular examiners do, so they may just be going over these references very carefully.

      From what I can tell, though, the examiners had last indicated to Amazon's lawyers that a relatively minor amendment (which Amazon later filed) would make the rejected claims allowable (some of the claims were already indicated as being allowable, or "confirmed", since it's a re-exam, without amendment). That may have changed since this indication was made (as part of an interview). As they say, it ain't over until the fat examiner sings.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Congress should pass a law requiring patent submitters to pay the USPTO to review their applications, billable by the hour, for however long that takes.

    This arrangement would scale to cover companies that submit patents by the truckloads (IBM, Microsoft, Google) as well as start-ups that have a small number of key patents protecting their core IP. It would allow the government to hire more patent examiners, while protecting the taxpayers (though not necessarily industries) against abuse from troll outfits.

    • by shentino ( 1139071 ) <> on Saturday February 20, 2010 @08:27PM (#31214586)

      That's only an incentive for examiners to drag their heels to rake in more in fees.

      It would also ensure yet another gateway open only to the rich.

      I'd prefer a merit system, where both companies and examiners who are involved in either requesting or granting a patent that is later invalidated lose brownie points.

      And I think that companies submitting frivolous patent applications should get spanked.

    • I remember reading that if a person who is filing a United States tax return incorrectly claims Earned Income Credit, that person may not be allowed to get the credit in the future. Maybe that thinking should be applied to the filing of patents, and maybe even lawsuits.
  • That as I remember, the original proposal by Amazon from 2000 included limiting software patent duration to something like five years. Had that been done, this wouldn't be an issue in the first place since the patent would have been expired by then.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    1. Register your source of funds with the candy machine. The candy machine becomes aware that there is an account that purchases can be charged to.
    2. Press a single button to make a purchase.
    3. The candy machine accesses the registered source of funds and attempts to deduct the purchase price.
    4. This can be repeated for a number of transactions, and each time the candy machine will access the source of funds to attempt to deduct the purchase price.

    For a closer approximation, see: parking ticket machines whe

  • As one of the classic cases, I've been gathering some info already about this:

    ...but I still maintain that the real harm of software patents is that they block access to standards []. Compatibility is essential for writing functional software, so some people having a legal veto on others being compatible is a big social problem. is a publicly editable wiki, help welcome.

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly