Amazon's one-click shopping patent
Amazon's "one-click shopping" patent became infamous both because it's trivial and because it's clearly a business method. It has since become an example of how impractical it can be to invalidate the most harmful even when prior-art exists.
Status in various regions
- USA: granted USA alternative link
- Australia: Granted (according to AIPLA)
- New Zealand: Granted, then Peter Calveley wipes away Amazon One Click Patent, but it's rumoured to have been reinstated later.
- Initially Refuses 1-click and business methods in general
- But on appeal, the refusal is overturned. See: Amazon v. Commissioner for Patents (2010, Canada)
- European Patent Office: According to FFII: "The application reached the third stage of examination (A3), i.e. it was recognised as referring to a patentable invention and a full novelty examination was conducted" but after controversy in the USA and new prior art, the patent was rejected. But FFII also notes that "In 2001 the patent application was split into two new applications, of which one was granted and one is still pending." The patent granted in 2001, EP0927945, was revoked in 2007.
Main claims: 1 and 44
- See also: Workspace for Canada 1-click appeal
The 2010 appeal ruling in Canada, Amazon v. Commissioner for Patents, described the application being two main claims, numbers 1 and 44, "variations on the above theme and describe, inter alia, what information is stored, order cancellations and how multiple ‘single actions’ are consolidated." These main claims may carry different numbers in other countries but the basis will be more or less the same. In the Canadian version there is a total of 75 claims, some being "method" claims, the others being "system" claims.
1. A method in a client system for ordering an item, the method comprising: receiving from a server system a client identifier of the client system; persistently storing the client identifier at the client system; where an item is to be ordered,
displaying information identifying the item and displaying an indication of a single action that is to be performed to order the identified item; and
in response to the single action being performed, sending to the server system a request to order the identified item along with the client identifier, the client identifier identifying account information previously supplied by a user of the client system wherein the user does not need to log in to the server system when ordering the item and
when account information is to be changed,
coordinating the log in of the user to the server
receiving updated account information; and
sending the updated account information to the server
whereby the user does not need to log in to the server system when ordering the item, but needs to log in to the server system when changing previously supplied account information.
44. A client system for ordering an item, comprising:
a component that receives from a server system a client identifier of the client system and that stores the client identifier persistently;
a component that orders an item by displaying information identifying the item along with an indication of a single action that is to be performed to order the identified item and by sending to the server system a request to order the identified item along with the client identifier, the client identifier identifying account information previously supplied by a user wherein the user does not need to log in to the server system when ordering the item; and
a component that updates account information by coordinating the log in of the user to the server system receiving updated account information for the user, and sending the updated account information to the server system.
In response to Tim O'Reilly's US$10,000 bounty for anyone who could find prior-art to invalidate the 1-click patent, contributors found existing patents on: 
- 1-click TV shopping
- the use of a remote data terminal to place orders
- single-action ordering during radio broadcasts
In 2006 Cordance Corp., who have an earlier patent that they claim covers the 1-click shopping idea, sued Amazon for patent infringement. The court case will take place in the second half of 2009.
MIT professor Philip Greenspun, who was called as a material witness in Amazon's litigation against Barnes and Noble, developed something similar or identical in 1995.
Related pages on ESP Wiki
- Wikipedia: 1-click
- Description of the history of the 1-click patent
- Patently absurd, a 2000 article in the New York Times
- USPTO's 1-Click Indecisiveness Enters 5th Year, Slashdot, February 2010
- Internet Software Patents, by Philip Greenspun, author of prior art
- ↑ http://www.aipla.org/html/Patent-Handbook/countries/australia/AUsoftware.html
- ↑ http://eupat.ffii.org/patents/effects/1click/index.en.html
- ↑ http://www.epo.org/topics/news/2007/20071207.html
- ↑ http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202432339946
- ↑ http://philip.greenspun.com/business/internet-software-patents