On March 2, 2010, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (the “USPTO”) handed down its notice of intent to issue a re-examination certificate for United States Patent 5,960,411 (the ‘411) or more commonly referred to as the Amazon 1-Click Patent. The ‘411 patent which is owned by Amazon Inc. was filed on September 12, 1997 and is entitled “Method and System for Placing a Purchase Order Via a Communications Network”. The re-examination process was triggered back in 2006 and subsequently required Amazon to amend claims 1-5 and claims 11-26 of the patent, while claims 6-10 remain unaffected. Amazon’s related United States Patent Number 7,222,087 also remains unaffected.
The amended claims now require a positively claimed “shopping cart model” as an essential element which was previously not the case. Despite the additional requisite elements, the claims are extremely broad, and cover the broadest model of ecommerce where the vendor has previously stored consumer purchasing information. In its most basic form, the claimed method steps include:
There have been many complaints in relation to the patentability of this business method, and it remains to be seen whether this type of broad computer implemented business method should be considered non-obvious and whether the re-examination process itself should be overhauled.
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