Laws Of .com

Amazon 1 Click Patent Survives Re examination

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:

  • under control of a client system, displaying information and identifying the item;
  • in response to only a single action being performed, sending a request to order the item along with an identifier of a purchaser of the item to a server system;
  • under control of a single-action ordering component of the server system, receiving the request;
  • retrieving additional information previously stored for the purchaser identified by the identifier in the received request; and 
  • fulfilling the generated order to complete purchase of the item whereby the item is ordered using a shopping cart model.

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.   

To search for United States Patent 5,960,411 at the USPTO, visit:

http://patft.uspto.gov/netahtml/PTO/srchnum.htm 

For additional commentary, visit: 

http://tinyurl.com/yd2prjk