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back to article US Patent Office decimates Amazon's 1-Click Patent

Most of the claims in Amazon's controversial patent for shopping with a single mouse click have been rejected by the US Patent Office. It follows a campaign by a New Zealander who filed evidence of prior art with funding from readers of his blog. There are 26 claims in Amazon.com's patent for Method and system for placing a …

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Stop

Moving the goalposts

""None of these DigiCash or electronic cash systems or the prior art contemplates or suggests a single action ordering system or component that includes a shopping cart ordering component."

Surely, a person who applies for a patent should not be allowed to move the goalposts after the match has commenced?

Allowing a retrospective amending a patent to cover something it didn't cover is surely WRONG if on the date of the amendment (ie, the year 2007) the amendment relates to something (ie, a shopping cart) for which there was plenty of prior art in 2006.

Once again, the USPO is bending the rules beyond credibility in trying to allow the patently obvious to be granted a patent, presumably trying to hide its embarassment that it should never have granted a patent in the first place.

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Paris Hilton

Prior Art

I understand that the process of patent law applicable to the Untied States is being followed but ...

... if a patent claim falls because of prior art consisting of a magazine article saying "imagine you pressed a button to pay to read this article" then the claim seems to have been rather thin to start with.

Perhaps this wouldn't be obvious to Paris, but to someone "versed in the art" it might seem so.

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As he worked on Lord of The Rings.

One click to rule them all. ;)

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Stop

Time for WikiPatent?

If one guy in NZ can do a better job of checking patent claims than the US Patent Office, isn't it time to just set up a WikiPatent.org where the "many eyes" approach is sure to do it even better still. Shit, just pass the job to Slashdot - even the most random Anonymous Coward there usually make a better call than the USPTO.

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Computer implementations of common real-life processes

Many software patents seem to be about implementing on a computer or the Internet processes that are well-known in real life.

For example, putting things in a shopping cart, bringing it to the checkout and paying by providing credit card information is not really a new idea. Implementing the same (or similar) process on a computer should not in itself warrant a patent, though a non-obvious and novel method for doing so might (if you allow computer-implemented methods to be patentable). I haven't read the one-click patent, so I can't say to which extent this may apply, but the items mentioned in the article certainly don't.

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@Ralph B

There is already such an effort. Details on Groklaw.

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Pirate

@Torben Mogensen

Torben, I was going to write the exact same post, but you already did it for me!

Being the first person to re-code an existing algorithm in a computer does not make something patentable. The shopping cart is already patented by Sylvan Goldman, 2,196,914 on April 9, 1940 (according to Wikipedia). I don't see how taking his idea and digitizing it is anything new.

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Happy

Amazon.co.uk

I notice the Amazon.co.uk website has had a bit of a revamp, nice looking new site, shame they haven't changed the URLs in their emails to compensate for it though. I've just had a mail telling me my order has shipped and to click here for tracking, unfortunately here leads to a 404 which is nice.

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Coat

Decimated...

Surely they'd only have removed 2 (3 if you round up) claims if they decimated it...

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Tut tut

21/26 vastly exceeds decimation!

I mean come on, if The Master can get it right...

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Anonymous Coward

amazon.co.uk

@Lloyd,

where exactly is this amaon.co.uk revamp ?

It looks exactly as it has always ... apart from adding new tabs "Shoes", "Baby" both of which I wont be visiting.

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That Headline

It appears from the comments that have already appeared that I was not alone in being confused by the "decimation" headline. I had seen the story on Groklaw where I had learned that nearly all of Amazon's claims had been gutted. Then I came over here and got a shock when I saw the headline: perhaps Groklaw had got it wrong. But no, your subhead speaks of only 5 out of 26 claims surviving---way away from a decimation.

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Joke

I'm establishing prior art right here...

..for this new patent.

"A method by which a computer user laughs his @ss off and points scorn and ridicule at a company who tried to manipulate the system to suppress competiton, but eventually failed badly."

It'll be the Nyah Nyah Patent, or the SCO-no! patent...you all saw it here first! :)

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Coat

Decimation - a pedant writes

For those who have forgotten their history of the Roman Empire (or never learnt it in the first place), "decimation" refers to a collective punishment applied to legions or armies that misbehaved, rebelled, or just failed very badly, in which they were all lined up, and then every tenth man was dragged out of the line and slaughtered. So if the court had decimated their claims, it would have struck down one in ten of them - two or three if you round up, like the earlier poster said. Chris should realise that five out of twenty-six is indeed "way away from" decimation, but probably not in the direction he was thinking.

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Alert

Decimate...

Origin: 1590–1600; < L decimātus, ptp. of decimāre to punish every tenth man chosen by lot, v. deriv. of decimus tenth, deriv. of decem ten;

The earliest English sense of decimate is “to select by lot and execute every tenth soldier of (a unit).”

The extended sense “destroy a great number or proportion of” developed in the 19th century: "Cholera decimated the urban population". Because the etymological sense of one-tenth remains to some extent, decimate is not ordinarily used with exact fractions or percentages:

"Drought has destroyed (not decimated) nearly 80 percent of the cattle."

So the pedants are justified, but only if the rely on an antique dictionary.

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Unhappy

Amazon search

I wonder why Amazon's search facility is so crud? Presumably someone has patented all of the stuff which makes a search actually work (like "exact match") and Amazon are too cheap to license it. Amazon search is only useful for sheeple who want the same stuff as everyone else.

Example: let's say you search for albums by a fringe band called "The". You will get pages of matches for every band with "The" in their name, and your exactly matching band will probably appear on pages 87 and 93 (if at all).

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Pirate

Maybe they should patent

"Method to make our company look stupid by attempting to abuse a corrupt system"?

//Svein

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Decimantion + interest!

All those pednatic fools that point out that decimation meant knocking over 10% of items.... well that was back in Roman times. You forgot inflation.

Even the most inflation resistant economies have inflated by more than the requires 8 times to make decimation be 21/26.

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Thumb Up

Software patents should die

alt.software-patents.die.die.die

And soon. What's next, a patent on linked lists? (That's not a joke)

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Stop

Is this broken

Far to obvious, one click instead of more than one, an shopping cart, all too obvious. You are not supposed to be able to patent obvious improvements, the US system is just too extreme.

NOBODY, should have to pay to get an obvious review done. Such reviews should be largely unneeded, as the patenter should be liable to check and patent only an valid patent, and criminally liable for those people that are trying to deliberately slip by an "sly one" fro commercial gain, and the Patent office should be liable to take out proper searches and procedures to largely eliminate patent "mistakes" and invalid patents. Fighting the rejection, or exploration (including hindering) of an patent claim, should be taken as an criminally labile act, unless it is provable or has reasonable expectation/belief behind it.

As an incentive, even an reward could be offered for successful challenges of patents based on claims struck down or modified.

No money should be required to defend an patent.

Also, companies/law firms, that specialise in breaking patents, by finding patents that are owned by individuals, or small businesses, that can't afford to defend them/prosecute unlicensed use of their patents. Should be healed legally, and criminally, liable, with the assets of people/entities involved in these criminal collaborations seized (to the extent of their involvements) and put in jail. With no time limit of prosecution of individuals, and entities that have not changed out of the hands of conspirators.

All this will lead to an higher quality patent database, more patents, and lower cost+higher productivity as an consequence. Some pain, for much much gain.

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Flame

Decimation

I'm Sorry, but the argument surrounding decimation is absolutely justified for the meaning "kill every tenth!" as Russel Crowe shouted in the film Gladiator.

Why did he do this and not shout "Decimate!" ?

Because the American viewing public would have misunderstood his command, and as usual had to have it spelled out to them.

Decimate used any other way is incorrect. Custom and practice does not make it otherwise no matter how many people get it wrong. (e.g. US English)

In any case, the word is derived from Latin, is not a native english word, and therefore the root has to be understood to make sense of the word. We can't change the meaning of 'restaurant' for the fun of it, that's french and we rely on the French to sort that out, like we expect the Germans to supply things like 'schadenfreude'.

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let's see...

Barnes & Noble fought this in court, and their (presumably expensive) lawyers did not manage to unearth the prior art that some guy in New Zealand dug up in his spare time?

Either a.) The lawyers did find this info, which is why they were able to settle with Amazon to some extent

or b.) Barnes & Noble should be asking aforesaid lawyers some serious questions.

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Anonymous Coward

The "Non-obvious" clause doesn't apply in the USA.

Presumably because the majority of US innovators are too stupid to invent anything that isn't "obvious to someone well-versed in the field"

Either that, or the US patent officials are too stupid to determine obviousness.

There are a great many machine (not even software) patents granted in the US that would be impossible elsewhere - including a way of producing different coloured light by using "5 or more different colored sources"

That particular patent even states that it is a logical progression from devices using 3 or 4 different coloured sources.

Madness.

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Unhappy

Amazon Search

@Sarev

And I thought I was the only one who hates the Amazon search...

My own pet hate is "order by price" seems to place it into some strange order unrelated from the price...and the other is the inability to filter out all those goddamn marketplace traders. If I wanted to buy from someone else, I'd go to ebay.

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@Torben Mogensen

"Many software patents seem to be about implementing on a computer or the Internet processes that are well-known in real life."

Yes, and there seem to be plenty of businesses out there that exist simply because of it. I'm told you can patent business models. Imagine getting a royalty on every dodgy software patent...

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Coat

Re: As he worked on Lord of The Rings.

"One click to rule them all. ;)"

And does this now make him a patent troll?

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@Warren, Re: Decimation

"In any case, the word is derived from Latin, is not a native english word, and therefore the root has to be understood to make sense of the word."

Most English words are derived from Latin, Greek or some proto-Germanic that linguists have inferred by linguistic reverse-engineering. What is this "native English" you speak of?

"We can't change the meaning of 'restaurant' for the fun of it, that's french and we rely on the French to sort that out, like we expect the Germans to supply things like 'schadenfreude'."

"We" certainly can. Take fanny, for example. You tell me what it means and I'll tell you which side of the Atlantic you grew up on.

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Tim
Coat

Re: As he worked on Lord of The Rings

Bad jokes are getting hobbitual around here.

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Thanks Ken

Native would be all the language influences that ocurred before the Romans showed up, like the Celts, Angles and Saxons for starters.

Take your fanny for example, are you thinking of a recent use of the word where could describe someone as a bit of a fanny? stop fannying around? or are we about to have a discussion about whether a Donkey has anything to do with your Arse?

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Dead Vulture

Obligatory pedant quote

"The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and riffle their pockets for new vocabulary." -James D. Nicoll

PS: The latin is actually decimatus, not decimate. And Merriam-Webster includes the definitions "to reduce drastically especially in number" and "to cause great destruction or harm to" So there.

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Coat

Re; Obligatory pedant quote

Oxford wrote;

decimate

/dessimayt/

• verb 1 kill or destroy a large proportion of. 2 drastically reduce the strength of.

— DERIVATIVES decimation noun.

— USAGE The earliest sense of decimate was ‘kill one in every ten of’, a reference to the ancient Roman practice of killing one in every ten of a group of soldiers as a collective punishment. This has been more or less totally superseded by the sense ‘kill or destroy a large proportion of’, although some traditionalists argue that this later sense is incorrect.

— ORIGIN Latin decimare ‘take as a tenth’.

Whilst it is obvious that Decimate is not the latin word, hence my statement that it was derived from latin, does it then become reasonable to ignore the decimal system as being base 10 because the Roman meaning is too old and we can start grabbing any old number base to operate from as 'close enough to' the meaning?

leave webster's alone, it's bad for the education old chap!

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