Status of Amazon's Controversial "One-Click" Patent in Canada, the US, and Europe

According to Amazon's well-known and controversally discussed "1-click" invention entitled "method and system for placing a purchase order via a communication network", easy internet shopping is enabled in that a customer visits a website, enters address and payment information and is given an identifier stored in a "cookie" in his client computer. A server is able to recognize the client by the cookie and to recall the purchasing information which is now stored in the vendor’s computer system. The customer can thus purchase an item with a "single click" – the order is made without the need to 'check out' or enter any more information. Below I briefly sketch the legal situation of Amazon's 1-click patents in Canada, the US, and Europe, all of which went through at least a second review, e.g. reexamination in the US or opposition proceedings in Europe. As Amazon is propably not unhappy with the situation in Canada and the US, where a patent with reasonable scope may still be obtained (Canada) or has been upheld (US), they will certainly not be satisfied about Europe. One reason might be the rather pragmatic European approach towards business methods and computer-implemented inventions, according to which a claim has technical character (and thus represents patentable subject-matter purusant Art. 52 EPC) as soon as a computer or network is mentioned, whereas non-technical (e.g. purely business-related or organisational) features must not be considered for assessing inventive step (cf. T 641/00 "COMVIK"). Thus, a claim whose innovative contribution exclusively relates to business issues can immediately be rejeced per definitionem ...Zum vollständigen Artikel


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