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US Patent Office decimates Amazon's 1-Click Patent

Only five of 26 claims survive

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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 purchase order via a communications network, better known as its 1-Click patent. Only five of the claims – numbered six to 10 – have been deemed "patentable and/or confirmed". Twenty-one others were rejected.

Peter Calveley from Auckland has previously told OUT-LAW that he has no business interest in revoking Amazon's most famous asset of intellectual property.

He worked as a motion capture performer and appeared as part of the evil armies in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy before he began his Amazon.com campaign over 18 months ago. He said at the time that it was a simply a hobby borne of an interest in patents and a frustration with an order for a book from Amazon that took too long to arrive.

Amazon applied for its famous patent in September 1997, naming founder and CEO Jeff Bezos as one of three inventors.

Only new inventions can be patented. An invention is not eligible for a patent if it has been described in prior art. Prior art includes any information that has been made available to the public in any form before the patent application is filed. Calveley submitted a 22 page list of evidence that he considered prior art.

Among Calveley's evidence was a patent filed in April 1994 that described a one-button ordering process for interactive TV. "When a viewer wishes to order an item, a button is pressed on the TV remote control. This button signals the client computer... to solicit the information necessary to place the order," says the patent.

The USPTO noted that process and also that another part of that patent described generating an order to purchase a requested item for the purchaser using an identifier. "The client computer would not know which information to retrieve from the permanent memory or who to charge or send the item to unless an identifier was transmitted when the order was placed from the user's interactive TV," it said.

Another patent, filed more than one year before Amazon's, describes an Online secured financial transaction system through electronic media. The USPTO noted that it "shows method for ordering an item using a client system … comprising: displaying information identifying the item and displaying an indication of a single action that is to be performed to order the identified item … The product may be purchased by clicking on a single action button 'BUY'".

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