Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Challenge to Amazon

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Challenge to Amazon

Article excerpt

Byline: By Shlomi Isaacson

Amazon.com's patented 1-Click ordering system for repeat purchases is one of the best-known examples of patented technology around. It has enabled the pioneering on-line bookshop-cum-department store to licence the system to other e-traders (including Apple's iTunes Music Store) and should remain a lucrative source of benefit to Amazon, both directly and indirectly, for the several remaining years of the life of the patent.

Or will it?

A New Zealand actor by the name of Peter Calveley thinks that, in relation to the 1-Click patent, he has discovered what is known in the IP world as "prior art".

In other words, the application of an idea predating Amazon's filing date for their patent and which may ultimately give a lie to the all important finding of "novelty" in the claims upon which Amazon's patent were granted. Put simply the worst case may be that the patent could ultimately be revoked or more likely that its "claims" be narrowed and therefore its value diminished.

Following a challenge submitted to the US Patent and Trade Mark Office a re-examination of the patent will be taking place. Amazon executives will no doubt be doing their utmost to ensure that the patent stands.

They have confidently stated that "the opportunity to re-validate what we believe is an important innovation in ecommerce" is welcomed.

Privately they will be hoping to survive the challenge with the original patent "claims" intact.

Details of a new patent application by Amazon have recently been announced, in relation to an application filed in December of last year. This one is likely to exercise the civil libertarians, as it hovers dangerously around the endlessly controversial area of data protection.

According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: "Amazon.com is developing a system to gather and keep massive amounts of intimate information about its millions of shoppers". …

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