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Amazon 1-Click Lawyers Make USPTO Work Xmas Eve

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the hey-those-guys-are-there-by-choice dept.

Patents 117

theodp writes "In a move that would do pre-makeover Ebenezer proud, Amazon.com's 1-Click lawyers put the USPTO to work on Christmas Eve. On Dec. 24th, the USPTO acknowledged receipt of yet another round of paperwork submitted by Amazon's high-priced legal muscle, the latest salvo in Amazon's 3-year battle to fend off a patent reexamination triggered by the do-it-yourself legal effort of actor Peter Calveley. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' 1-Click patent is also under attack on another front — on Dec. 23rd, the USPTO received $810 from Amazon's attorneys together with a request that the agency invalidate Patent Examiner Mark A. Fadok's final rejection of 1-Click patent claims on the grounds of obviousness. On the bright side, patent clerks — unlike Bob Cratchit — get the day after Christmas off!"

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So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232115)

I'm working now.

Re:So what? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232261)

I'm working now.

You're posting to Slashdot, my guess is that you're *not* working. Unless you're an editor ;)

Re:So what? (4, Funny)

MadnessASAP (1052274) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233345)

And even then his work would be questionable at best.

Re:So what? (2, Insightful)

Ahnteis (746045) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233575)

Not every job requires 100% attention 100% of the time. I have a friend, for example, who spends much of his night shift sitting. His duty is making sure none of the juveniles in custody leave through the door next to him. I think he could manage a slashdot post or three and still be doing the job he was paid to do.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26235447)

How to tell a good admin from a bad admin:

A Bad admin is overloaded with work. You see him everywhere, you read his announcements, you have his phone number in your phonebook, likely under a hotkey.

A Good admin spends up to fifteen minutes a day actually working. You may never realize you have an admin. Everything just works. There's always a quick and easy automated process to solve any problem you might have. You don't notice there is the system, you just do your work and the system is there, transparent to you. You never configure anything because the defaults are just right.

Of course, a good admin, to do a good work, needs a good boss who realizes what a good admin is. A clueless boss will think the bad admin is much better than the good admin - after all, he does so much more work!

Re:So what? (1)

Slashdotvagina (1434241) | more than 5 years ago | (#26236377)

Not every job requires 100% attention 100% of the time. I have a friend, for example, who spends much of his night shift sitting. His duty is making sure none of the juveniles in custody leave through the door next to him.

Wouldn't a door lock do an equally good job?

Re:So what? (1)

Lord Flipper (627481) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233779)

You're posting to Slashdot, my guess is that you're *not* working. Unless you're an editor ;)

I can't speak for our friend AC, but, as a matter of fact I am an editor, taking a short break now, and I worked all day yesterday (Christmas Eve) until 7am this morning, then crashed and resumed at 2 in the afternoon. It is now 2 in the morning, Boxing Day. Oh, and there is no end in sight. :)

More people should work on XMAS during these times (-1, Troll)

zymano (581466) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232159)

A lot of unemployed people. Good for the economy too.

Jobs > unemployed,worried about working on the holidays.

LOL.

Re:More people should work on XMAS during these ti (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232213)

No.

Honestly. There are signs of a slight expression coming. World won't end. And we shouldn't give away our basic rights as employees (such as not having to work on Christmas) just because media tries to scare us shitless with the depression. If we give them up they will be really hard to get back five years from now when the depression is over. (And yes, atleast here in Finland this shows signs of becoming to resemble the depression of 1990-1993)

Honestly, few companies will weight the issue "We will either make them work on christmas or fire 1000 people". The economy isn't about such small rights lowering productivity.

I'm glad that IT is (as are all other areas of work) so strongly unionized here in Finland that companies won't be able to scare the people with "Give up your rights or we are less productive and will have to fire people" stick.

Re:More people should work on XMAS during these ti (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232381)

I work at a Datacenter. It's staffed 24/7. Even on Christmas; some jerkface is breaking a server or a T1 goes down due to rain here in SoCal? Unions are great! I wish IT had one. However, critical services need to be open for the public's safety. Here in America; we work till we drop. And when we do; there's a new replacement. Profit is everything and people don't mean squat! So how're the chicks in Finland? Would they dig and American boyfriend IT Weenie come move in with them?

Re:More people should work on XMAS during these ti (2, Insightful)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 5 years ago | (#26234787)

Unions are great!

Aside from the usual mismanagement, unions are also one of the biggest reasons US car companies can not compete with foreign auto makers.

Unions do serve an important function in many industries but they are also destroying many of those same industries. In the end, we all pay much, much higher prices for US goods which prices many of them right out to extinction. Simply put, if unions ONLY did their job to ensuring a safe/healthy work environment with fair wages, then there would be nothing but goodness. Unfortunately, unions work as well as the government, which means they are self destructive and ineffective in the end. It is to the union's own benefit to destroy a company with over paid wages. After all, higher wages means far higher salaries, benefits, and perks for those running the unions.

Do you really believe a worker who wields a paint gun should be paid $50/hr? Sure, a nice respirator and air exchange unit makes sense, but since when should we pay a worker $50/hr, $75/hr for overtime, $100/hr for holiday pay, and $175/hr for holiday with overtime for an inferior job compared to what a robot can do, which costs far, far, less in the long run. And let's not forget the health and retirement benefits many of the workers also earn - which can add up to an extra $50/hr for each worker. Being generous of what some unions actually provide, that works out to be over ***$225/hr*** for what should be a $50-65/hr worker - including all benefits, overtime, and holiday pay. Many doctors and/or lawyers don't make that kind of money and those are highly skilled professions.

Frankly, $15/hr + benefits + respirator, air exchange unit, painter's suit, is more than fair given the type of unskilled labor involved. The price difference adds thousands and thousands of dollars per vehicle - often resulting in a lower quality product to boot.

Now consider someone who moves a paint gun. That person can be fired despite the fact not moving the paint gun caused an entire assembly line to shut down. How about a better example. Someone missteps causing a piece of pipe, which was leaned against a corner, to fall onto the assembly line. Now let's assume it's either a holiday or a weekend where plumbers are all off. The assembly line is now shutdown costing the company hundreds of thousands of dollars per hour. If anyone moves the pipe they can be terminated - so the pipe doesn't get moved. Someone now calls a plumber. The plumber lives an hour away. The plumber already maxed out his hours. The plumber shows up, moves the pipe, and goes home. For that simple feat, the plumber is paid a minimum of four hours. But wait, that's over time. And since it was a holiday, that's holiday pay plus overtime. That plumber is paid $60/hr. He drives home having "earned" $840.00 and cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Frankly, these days unions do far, more damage than they help. Who wants to pay a premium for an inferior product? That, by in large, is why US auto manufacturers are failing.

Re:More people should work on XMAS during these ti (1, Informative)

cthellis (733202) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235179)

Aside from the usual mismanagement, unions are also one of the biggest reasons US car companies can not compete with foreign auto makers.

You realize how much a sack of crap that is, right? The biggest worker expenditure difference between auto workers in US auto maker plants versus foreign auto makers comes from the pension past workers have built up from... you know... manufacturing here for the better past of a decade. (Whereas foreign auto maker plants haven't been here long enough to build up a worker pension pool yet.)

Subtract that bullshit additional claim to the "BOO HOO TEH UNIONS!!!" shouting, and what's the difference...? About $4 an hour, or under-a-10% salary delta. But that doesn't doesn't make waves and just MIIIIGHT get people saying "whatever, dudes, make better cars and better market decisions on your lineup," so therefore they had to trot out out that asinine $70+ figure.

...and of course, when it comes right down to it, worker salary and pension and all that rigmarole amounts to less than 10% of what the companies expend in general, so... Just MAYBE there are other places they need to tighten ship as well?

Certainly some unions can cause problems, but is the auto worker union making the US car manufacturers fail? Not even close. Pension aside, the "total hourly compensation" comes to something like $52 versus $48, and while it's true UAW has been able to lobby for more valuable pensions as well, the difference is simply that of size and time. US auto manufacturers have a pension pool that's been built up by MANY more workers in MANY more plants that have been in operation since the dawn of the 20th century. (Or, I suppose, when and how they started providing pensions.)

The "competition gap" would certainly make a couple percent different all told in the long run, but that's in no way why they've all gone belly-up and are in need of bailing out now.

Re:More people should work on XMAS during these ti (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26236493)

No one does pensions anymore (except state/federal government) and you'd be stupid as a business to offer a pension. It's a black hole you have to keep feeding, as you don't know what your costs are going to be. 401ks (defined contribution) are the way to go, as you know what your costs are going to be upfront.

Re:More people should work on XMAS during these ti (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26236435)

Gah. It 's a lot more complected then that.
Over seas auto workers have a lot of services that us citizens do not. Health care, guaranteed wage form the government, just to name two.

You also don't realize the damage an untrained person can cause move or using equipment can cause.

You obviously have no clue about government, unions, or any practical matters regarding comparative difference in the life between the citizens of different countries.
so STFU until you do.

Then you don't even compare salaries between management and union, or consider the enourmous cost of bonuses.

You can not look at one aspect and put the blame there, you need to look at the bigger pictures. I suggest you read up on the pre-union industrial age to find out what happens to people and the environment.

You know why there is a minimum? to make people think before having some work done. None of this calling you in on your time off to do 20 minutes of work unless it's important.

US automobiles have made a huge comeback in terms of quality. Sadly, in the auto industry it take 5 years min. before public perception catches up to reality.

You are not insightful (2, Insightful)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 5 years ago | (#26236521)

My sister worked for a closing GM plant - and just got laid off. Worked there for over 20 years and her job is union-classified as skilled. Her particular job is being bandied about in the media as paying $71/hour. She gets a bit over a third of that, GROSS, not net. Her pension funding is going south - because they fund more by contingency than by trust accounting, I suppose (I am not an expert).

Now her friends and neighbors are giving her the same $71/hour shit.

You can pontificate about unions all you want - and you do - but you have no idea what you're talking about.

It's not the unions that destroyed the auto industry - it's that the entire industry, like so many others in the world today (and the US especially) are really run by the accountants and/or driven by accounting practices, with "professional" managers or promoted salesmen believing that they know crap about the ramifications of their decisions.

By the way - if any company you've worked for bills your time at less than a multiple of about 2.5 on your salary, then they're losing money.

Yes, pensions, 401ks, insurance, employer's portion of social security, compliance with unemployment and disability laws - those all come for free in your world, as do power, etc, etc. And if you think for one minute that those things aren't being "creatively" managed on the books and they aren't added into inflated labor reports - in short, if you think you know thing one about accountancy in the auto industry you're delusional.

That's just my friendly opinion.

You are correct in much of the over-specialization and waste that are union-caused. But that was the insane result of insane management forcing people (under threat of firing) of doing dangerous jobs requiring skill. It may not excuse what the union response was, but the simple fact is that what goes around, comes around.

And I close by criticizing your decision that a painter should get $15/hour. I don't know if you got that number along with the flying monkeys or not, but frankly - that amount does nothing to compete against a lot of jobs whose end products are in lower demand and carry lower costs than automobiles.

Take a course in economics and work in the real world for a while. You clearly have some idea of auto-manufacturing ops - but little else in what you postulate is even close to reality.

Re:More people should work on XMAS during these ti (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232431)

Fuck off and die ass hole.

Having a MANDATORY and TRADITIONAL day off for the workers of a country is not only a good idea but civilized.

Only self adsorbed assholes would think otherwise.

Oh and Merry Christmas/Quanza/hannakua/Festivus you raging ass.

Re:More people should work on XMAS during these ti (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232769)

Civilized? Your post suggests you have no idea what the word means other than as a cynical prop to justify your own worldview.

Is this about workers rights or is this about celebrating a religious holiday? I'm honestly curious about WHY you think the world owes you a day off? Is it to celebrate mass?

To be fair, I agree with your point but you offer no justification, and you just come off like a er,...well, a raging ass.

This is a lousy business decision. (3, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232185)

Pushing this absurd patent is costing Amazon more in negative PR than the patent could possibly be worth.

-jcr

Re:This is a lousy business decision. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232251)

Negative PR? Only with the tiny audience that reads slashdot or sites like it. That's not a slam of slashdot, but you have to admit this is not anything like a mainstream news site.

Re:This is a lousy business decision. (1)

agy (169514) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235889)

Yeah, maybe a YouTube video with a Johnny Cash lookalike singing
"Take 1 click and shove it; I ain't a-shoppin' here no more..."
would help.

Re:This is a lousy business decision. (5, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232287)

Is it a lousy business decision?

Pushing this absurd patent is costing Amazon more in negative PR than the patent could possibly be worth.

Negative PR with who? The people that already feel questionably about Amazon? Because the truth is no one outside the Web world (that's us) cares, and we represent a very tiny part of Amazon's customer base, and most of us will keep on buying things from Amazon anyway (though I try to buy from Powells [slashdot.org] when I can).

My point is that hoping Amazon gets "embarrassed" about this isn't going to happen, and your statement simply isn't true.

Re:This is a lousy business decision. (4, Informative)

cpghost (719344) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232829)

Because the truth is no one outside the Web world (that's us) cares, and we represent a very tiny part of Amazon's customer base

There are NO Amazon customers outside the Web world...

But, point well taken: you're quite right. This is a non-issue for nearly all Amazon customers anyway. We software patent opponents do care a lot (though not all of us would avoid using Amazon because of this silly patent), but we're an insignificant minority of their customer base.

Re:This is a lousy business decision. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26233183)

There are NO Amazon customers outside the Web world...

Don't be an ASS, you know exactly what the parent was talking about. Jack ass.

Re:This is a lousy business decision. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232369)

As much as I'd like to boycott Amazon over this, their services are just too tempting. Their video on demand and mp3 stores are the best of their kinds (although both could still use some work), and between free 2 day shipping through Amazon Prime and their typically competitive prices, I spend more money at Amazon than I do at all other brick and mortar stores combined (except maybe Costco...).

Re:This is a lousy business decision. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232377)

Pushing this absurd patent is costing Amazon more in negative PR than the patent could possibly be worth.

-jcr

I think you greatly over-value negative PR.

Re:This is a lousy business decision. (4, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232479)

Pushing this absurd patent is costing Amazon more in negative PR than the patent could possibly be worth.

-jcr

I think you greatly over-value negative PR.

True. Now, if a video could be shown of Jeff Bezos broiling and consuming a newborn baby ... that might do it.

Re:This is a lousy business decision. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26234137)

True. Now, if a video could be shown of Jeff Bezos broiling and consuming a newborn baby ... that might do it.

At first I thought you said boiling a newborn baby and was going to reply saying how horrible that was. Boiling is absolutely no way to consume an infant -- broiling or rotisserie being the preferred methods.

Re:This is a lousy business decision. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232847)

Pushing this absurd patent is costing Amazon more in negative PR than the patent could possibly be worth.

-jcr

Oh no, amazon is in a position to extort billions from every online store, auction site, and reseller.

Amazon can't possibly lose on this one.

On the other hand, they ARE wasting tax payer money by tieing up the USPTO with bullshit legal paperwork for years on end. I wonder if we could sue amazon for compensation when this is finally over.

Re:This is a lousy business decision. (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233991)

amazon is in a position to extort billions from every online store, auction site, and reseller.

I don't think so. The patent only covers one particular implementation of on-line ordering, and most of the other internet businesses are doing fine without it.

-jcr

Re:This is a lousy business decision. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232927)

It is not any kind of business decision it is purely about Bezos's ego. His name is on the patents. How can he be a tech wizard without his fundamental patent? Then he would be "just a business guy" and wouldn't have the big dick status of Bill Gates or Jobs or Page/Brin.

Re:This is a lousy business decision. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26234109)

As much as I loathe this stupid patent, I have just ordered stuff from amazon again. There just is no other place that combines convenience with low prices (at least in Germany) as amazon. So, bad PR? Might be, but it won't hurt their bottom line as far as I am concerned.

Not everyone's Christian... (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232187)

I'm atheist you insensitive clod.

Re:Not everyone's Christian... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232255)

So get back to work, you lazy asshole!

Yours Chrstian Boss,
Waikiki Beach,
Honolulu

Re:Not everyone's Christian... (0, Offtopic)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232373)

Also, Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on January 7, because they still use old Julian calendar and not the new-fangled Gregorian Calendar.

Re:Not everyone's Christian... (0, Offtopic)

Nathrael (1251426) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232527)

I'm Atheist as well but I still get presents :P .

Re:Not everyone's Christian... (2, Insightful)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232751)

What's religion got to do with it? OK, sure. There are still those who maintain religious traditions around this time of year. And that's fine. But much of what we celebrate as Christmas is secular.

Looking around my household, I only find one religious trapping; a figurine of an angel reaching for a star. It is far outnumbered by the reindier, wreaths, nutcrackers, canycanes, snowmen, santas, christmas trees, and other assorted decorations. I haven't attented church in years. We didn't even say grace during Christmas dinner with the family.

I've seen the bumper stickers that read "Put Christ back in Christmas." And that's telling. For much of the wider population has left the religious pinnings aside. Or, at best, the religion is only a part of the holiday. Instead Christmas is a time of celebration, friends, family, and community.

Yes there are still echoes of Christian tradition in even a secular Christmas. But there are also echos of traditions that are decidedly non-Christian as well (never mind the history of all those traditions). So if Christmas is decidedly religious to you, then that's great for you. Enjoy the season as you would have it. But don't kid yourself in to thinking it is solely religious in nature much less religious to everyone else.

Re:Not everyone's Christian... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26233093)

Christmas, whether you see it as primarily Christian or Pagan, is still a religious holiday. However, convenient hypocrisy (i.e. cause you get presents) allows most atheists (and people who just want to take part in Christian-American culture, i.e. the Japanese) to celebrate it by lying to themselves that they simply don't recognize the religious portion.

If you pay your respects to Jesus/Santa/Novi God then you are taking part in a religious celebration whether you believe in it or not.

"I may be sacrificing this goat to Shibboleth, but I promise you Sir, I am an atheist of the strongest conviction!"

Re:Not everyone's Christian... (1)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233467)

take part in Christian-American culture? hah, that's a good one...

or maybe it's all the Christians (including those non-American 'copycats') who are lying to themselves, pretending they're not celebrating a pagan holiday (a Roman festival mixed with elements of Yule-tide [wikipedia.org] ) and practicing a syncretic religion based primarily on Gnosticism, Neoplatonism, and Mystery cults, with its mythology heavily borrowed from pre-Judeo-Christian cultures like the Sumerians/Babylonians, ancient Egyptians, ancient Greeks, etc.

of course, what American Christians celebrate today (including the image of Santa Claus popularized by Coca-Cola) has more to do consumerism than any religious tradition. so, basically, if you think Christmas is about Christianity, and that Christianity is about Christianity, then you're living a lie within a lie.

Re:Not everyone's Christian... (4, Insightful)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233663)

If you pay your respects to Jesus/Santa/Novi God then you are taking part in a religious celebration whether you believe in it or not.

Please feel free to point out what in my description depicted religious ceremony. And please - are you really implying that Santa Claus is a god?

Again - there are underpinnings of Christianity in many Western Christmas traditions. Sure. But then, there's also lots of underpinnings of other religions as well. Just because one follows such a tradition, does not make one a participant of that religion. If it was otherwise, Christmas as most Westerners observe it would present some serious problems for devout Christians (who are pretty uncomfortable with the idea of practicing multiple religions).

I should also note that I do not claim to be an athiest. My religious beliefs are, frankly, nobody's business but my own. The point isn't that Christmas is some Atheist field-day but rather you do not have to be religious to participate in the holiday.

I know that upsets the "reason for the season" folks. They'll have to get over it (they won't).

Re:Not everyone's Christian... (1)

Scotch42 (1120577) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235215)

Christmas is a religious time. As far as religion can be envisionned without any deity. Santa Claus is not a god in any fashion. It's more an impersonnation of some fundamental principe. It's all about the winter solstice. It's the time to celebrate hope. The hope of the return of the light. This is taking place in the longest night of the year. When men are about to forfeit hope against darkness. This celebration uses a evergreen tree illuminated by lights. All girl are called "lucy" and running with lights in their hairs. and so on...

Christianity just put the birth of JC at the same time because is also celebration for hope from they point of view.

PS: I'm not native english speaker, so forgive any language mistakes.

Re:Not everyone's Christian... (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#26236491)

Christmas is a religious time. As far as religion can be envisionned without any deity. Santa Claus is not a god in any fashion. It's more an impersonnation of some fundamental principe. It's all about the winter solstice. It's the time to celebrate hope. The hope of the return of the light. This is taking place in the longest night of the year. When men are about to forfeit hope against darkness. This celebration uses a evergreen tree illuminated by lights. All girl are called "lucy" and running with lights in their hairs. and so on...

Yes - these are all traditions that have religious origins. But does following these traditions (or echoes of the original tradition) make it a religious practice? And if it does, what does that say about traditions such as Halloween (and yeah - I'm aware that some religious folks get upset about that too but they are a minority).

That some would attribute religious aspects to a celebration does not make it religious. Here in the United States, the Forth of July is a national holiday with quite a bit of fanfare. There are certainly some religious trappings involved and some people attribute some very religious feelings towards it. But it is still decidedly secular in origin. And few follow it as a religious celebration.

Christianity just put the birth of JC at the same time because is also celebration for hope from they point of view.

This is simply an example of cultural war. The Church has managed to assimilate many traditions owing to other religious practices.

PS: I'm not native english speaker, so forgive any language mistakes.

Your English is far superior to any attempts I've made at other languages.

Re:Not everyone's Christian... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26235675)

And please - are you really implying that Santa Claus is a god?

New poster here. For all intents and purposes, Santa is a god. Miracles are ascribed to him (free toys for all children) and the religious fanatics (parents) go to great lengths to propagate the truth of this miracle. Neerdowells like myself that know it is a crock of shit and believe blatent, pointless lying to children is wrong, must hold their tongues. Like I told my nephew, "I believe whatever your mother tells me to believe". I.e., the kid knows it is a crock of shit and is quizzing us up a storm like he'd never do for "God". Santa as god is the perfect metaphor to help explain why this bullshit religious indoctination ought to stop. Kids want to believe their parents are good people. They currently must choose between "lying is wrong and my parents are bad" or "lying is good and my parents are good".

Re:Not everyone's Christian... (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#26236405)

For all intents and purposes, Santa is a god. Miracles are ascribed to him (free toys for all children) and the religious fanatics (parents) go to great lengths to propagate the truth of this miracle. Neerdowells like myself that know it is a crock of shit and believe blatent, pointless lying to children is wrong, must hold their tongues. Like I told my nephew, "I believe whatever your mother tells me to believe".

Keep in mind that in most religions, the religious fanatics also believe. Parents tend not to believe in Santa and just see it as some quaint tradition. Granted - you've done a good job at showing parallels to religious behavior. But that doesn't make it a religion.

The cynical side of me would note the whole Santa right-of-passage is actually a valuable life lesson. Just because something would be nice, people tell you something, and you really want that something to be true doesn't mean something is true.

Nice framing, sockpuppet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232201)

Amazon works on a business day, film at a 11.

Or did you think the internet's largest retailer takes off the days before Christmas?

What the hell kind of framing is this? Oh right, theodp is a Sand Hill sockpuppet.

Re:Nice framing, cockpuppet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232335)

Sockpuppet?

More like cockpuppet.

DUH! (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232211)

Who ever said that practicing "law" or anything to do with it is a gentleman's game?

On contrary... You got a way to put that extra pound of pressure on your opponent, you use it.
As long as it is legal and/or you don't get caught.

Heck... If duels were legal you can bet your ass that lawyers would start hiring people as proxies to challenge the members of opposing legal team prior to trial.

Re:DUH! (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232333)

Who ever said that practicing "law" or anything to do with it is a gentleman's game?

On contrary... You got a way to put that extra pound of pressure on your opponent, you use it. As long as it is legal and/or you don't get caught.

Heck... If duels were legal you can bet your ass that lawyers would start hiring people as proxies to challenge the members of opposing legal team prior to trial.

I'm surprised they haven't challenged Calveley to a duel.

Re:DUH! (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232397)

Just because the players play to win doesn't mean it's not a gentleman's game. Lawyering is more of a gentleman's game than, say, baseball.

Don't see it (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232215)

Is there an assumption that USPTO has to somehow reply to this latest submission by midnight on same day?

The story seems silly. There is no life or death situation. I would expect no action from USPTO for 3 month or more.

Re:Don't see it (1)

Slashdotvagina (1434241) | more than 5 years ago | (#26234151)

Correct. However, theodp is quite the anti-patent submitter [google.com] who has a particular habit of posting anti-Amazon stories [google.com] -- all his stories have a sensationalist, borderline flamebait bias to them.

Re:Don't see it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26235427)

I work for Amazon and I am working today and I worked Christmas Eve. It satisfying to me that those who are further up the corporate ladder still have to work everyday just like those of us that support the website front-end and the distribution back-end.

Welcome to the global and/or internet economy.

What a ridiculous summary paragraph (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232217)

It just shows how little some people know about the patent system. A request for continued examination can be filed with the electronic system on Dec 23rd, and very few humans would see it, if any, until the docket clerk looks at it. The examiner won't be looking at it for quite some time, so they aren't working overtime for Bezos. Further, they aren't asking for an invalidation of the final rejection, they are asking for reconsideration on the merits, and a withdrawal of the rejection (very different things). If you know about the system, the summary the submitter put forward was good for a laugh, but nothing else.

Re:What a ridiculous summary paragraph (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26233241)

Furthermore, the USPTO just announced on Tuesday that it would be closed on Friday - I had a couple deadlines on Christmas that, had they not closed the PTO, I would have had to file on Friday because the PTO wasn't originally closed then. But why let facts get in the way of smearing patent attorneys?

Re:What a ridiculous summary paragraph (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26233577)

Actually RCE's get docketed pretty quick, maybe a week to two weeks. Then the examiner has two months to send out a rejection as the case is placed on their Amended docket (or else they get negative points assigned to them).

Re:What a ridiculous summary paragraph (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233799)

Indeed. Most of the /. verbiage on patents is amusingly uninformed.

Not understanding the difference between a patent application and a granted patent is a common feature of articles and commentary here. Given that level of ignorance, it is inevitible that most denizens of /. fail to comprehend the procedures in prosecuting an application, and the associated dialog between applicant's attorneys and the examiner.

Hint: I hold 12 granted US patents, and have a few applications being examined. I have some familiarity with the subject.

Re:What a ridiculous summary paragraph (1)

arotenbe (1203922) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233833)

Not understanding the difference between a patent application and a granted patent is a common feature of articles and commentary here.

Most people on Slashdot believe that an alarmingly large percentage of patent applications are granted. The number of outright stupid patents that are granted is often exaggerated into the "application == patent" phenomenon you mention. Sadly, some of the time, they're right.

Re:What a ridiculous summary paragraph (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 5 years ago | (#26234857)

Other problems with /. evaluation of patents and applications include looking at the abstract, disclosure, or drawings and ignoring the claims; reading the first part of a claim but ignoring the rest, thereby missing the novel limitation; and declaring something obvious without providing evidence to support their argument.

Electronic Acknowledgement Receipt (5, Insightful)

sir_eccles (1235902) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232219)

Loosely translated means they filed the paperwork online and the whole thing was accepted automatically. So if anything, it was Amazon being Ebenezer making its lawyers work Xmas eve, the USPTO didn't have to do anything.

Re:Electronic Acknowledgement Receipt (4, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232293)

Loosely translated means they filed the paperwork online and the whole thing was accepted automatically. So if anything, it was Amazon being Ebenezer making its lawyers work Xmas eve, the USPTO didn't have to do anything.

Yeah, no kidding. I mean, we're talking government employees here.

Re:Electronic Acknowledgement Receipt (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26236449)

Yeah, no kidding. I mean, we're talking government employees here.

I wish.
All my life I heard what lazy people government worker where and didn't have to do anything.

3 years ago I got a government job, and it's been nothing but work, work, work. I work with the most dedicated people I have ever worked with.
I'm thinking of suing for false advertising~

Re:Electronic Acknowledgement Receipt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232487)

But how many clicks did it take?

Obvious patent? Not back then. (2, Informative)

mveloso (325617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232221)

Way back in the day, nobody could even figure out how to do credit card processing, much less buy anything online. I have a vague recollection of one of the backbone providers in the Northeast or Midwest trying to prohibit commerical traffic over their network.

One-click buying was pretty radical. Even buying stuff online was pretty unbelievable. I mean, think about this: some company you never heard of would store your credit card number and other information so you could buy stuff without entering in all the supporting info. This was back in the day when the big debate was PPP vs SLIP, and you couldn't get a commercial PPP account (except via netcom, I think).

Now all this stuff is pretty obvious. Back in the day, just buying stuff online was pretty wild. One-click, from the engineering side, was really original. The fact that it sounds so quotidian shows how far things have come since then.

Re:Obvious patent? Not back then. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232267)

one click buying was as obvious as n[anything], it starts off with a bunch of steps and slowly gets optimized to the minimum, which is a very logical progression.

see 'one click recording', 'one button printers' and so on. Eventually all technology gets optimized to the minimum number of interfaces required to make it work.

Not only is this an obvious patent, it is part of a special class of obvious patents, the ones that are destined to happen anyway, no matter who patents them.

Re:Obvious patent? Not back then. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26234939)

Making a time travel machine is obvious. People have been wanting to do it for ages. It would just be a logical progression for people to make things that people want, like time travel machines.

That doesn't mean the execution is painless. Try reading a claim sometime before you spew such ignorance.

Re:Obvious patent? Not back then. (1)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232353)

I think it was obvious to a lot of people. After all storing data on a computer is a pretty standard thought. I don't know why the fact that it's credit card information for a purchase is that novel.

In the real world, bars have done this for a long time. It's called a tab.

Re:Obvious patent? Not back then. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232357)

I have a vague recollection of one of the backbone providers in the Northeast or Midwest trying to prohibit commerical traffic over their network.

You're thinking of NSFNET [wikipedia.org] , which was more-or-less the bridge between the original ARPANET and the commercial Internet we know today. The non-commercial limitations were inherited from ARPANET, and had to do with government funding of the backbone.

Re:Obvious patent? Not back then. (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232415)

Buying stuff online wasn't common, but people had been buying stuff over the phone for years. Sometimes they even had an open account, so they could call up, identify themselves, place an order, and have it billed later.

Re:Obvious patent? Not back then. (2, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232451)

Um no it was not. People had been buying via Mail order for 200 years previous. Sears Roebuck were accepting checks and money by mail for over a century by then. and they were acceptng credit cards cince they existed.

Online buying was no different no innovative in any way. You're making the silly assumption that doing something normal "on the internet" is innovative.

It's not.

Re:Obvious patent? Not back then. (4, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232465)

so should TV commercials have been patented because before TV was invented "advertising on TV" was a very radical concept?

Amazon didn't invent e-commerce. they only popularized it. and even if they had been the first to implement one-click check out, it's still not a patentable non-trivial/obvious invention.

if businesses are allowed to patent trivial features like saving a customer's credit card information, then you risk destroying the software development industry. within a few years any software development firm would have to license 99% of all of their products' features because everything from autosave to file menus would have been "pretty unbelievable" at some point in time.

Re:Obvious patent? Not back then. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232651)

so should TV commercials have been patented... ?

Oh God, yes!

Re:Obvious patent? Not back then. (2, Interesting)

g2devi (898503) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232525)

If it's not obvious, why do children reinvent it every day?

Don't believe me? Go into a toy store and watch spoiled children. They'd point to a toy and say "I want that" and then say "I want that" and then say "I want that", etc, before their parents gather up their requests and go to the cashier.

The 1-click patent is not not only obvious, it has prior art in spoiled children. The key reason few people did online shopping before amazon is that http standards, and in particular encryption, wasn't common enough and up to the level that people would trust it. Also, people wanted to "see and feel" what they were buying. Amazon reviews and other Amazon features and trust in the technology made people feel it was "safe" to shop online.
 

Re:Obvious patent? Not back then. (3, Insightful)

johanatan (1159309) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232677)

I think you need a history lesson. Amazon's one-click was submitted in Fall of 1997--hardly the primitive networking days you describe.

Uh, mail order? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26233153)

Mail ordering stuff was quite common way before this online stuff came around. Also an "unknown" company taking my credit card info and keeping information.

I know I was buying computer stuff by mail order in 1982 for my TI-99/4A. It was nearly "1-click". I could call, keep them a couple pieces of information to verify myself and they would look up my account and away we went without me having to give my credit card info again or address, etc.

Re:Obvious patent? Not back then. (3, Insightful)

asackett (161377) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233215)

Sorry, youngster, you are not giving those of us who were building e-commerce web sites "way back in the day" before there was an Amazon.com nearly enough credit. One-click was obvious even before they did it; the reason no one else offered it is because it's stupid.

All e-commerce sites I built before Amazon.com existed (and before "e-commerce" was the widely accepted term for them) stored account details that were pre-populated in the checkout forms after successful authentication. It was common as dirt, and even those customers who were beyond the reach of 56k dial-up expected it to work that way.

Yes, indeed, it was obvious even "way back in the day".

Re:Obvious patent? Not back then. (1)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233341)

It was not radical at the time of the original patent application. This patent is circa 1998-1999 and there were tons of online retailers pre-1998. The difference was they were small. In fact, Netscape created cookies for the purposes of e-commerce. Lastly, just look at the 1997 RFC. There was gobs, and gobs, and gobs of prior art on this patent. That's why everyone went so bonkers about the patent being awarded.

This context might be used to create, for example, a "shopping cart", in which user selections can be aggregated before purchase, or a magazine browsing system, in which a user's previous reading affects which offerings are presented. -- http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2109 [ietf.org]

Magic cookies were already used in computing when Lou Montulli had the idea of using them in Web communications in June 1994.[28] At the time, he was an employee of Netscape Communications, which was developing an e-commerce application for a customer. Cookies provided a solution to the problem of reliably implementing a virtual shopping cart. -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Http_cookie#History [wikipedia.org]

Re:Obvious patent? Not back then. (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233815)

I was buying things online via Compuserve in the 1980s. It wasn't "pretty unbelievable" even then.

So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232281)

Move to Canada where Boxing day is a holiday.

Personally, I'm taking 2, maybe 3 weeks off. What ever I decide. I deserve it.

What the law should really be doing (3, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232309)

What's REALLY needed is a law which prohibits the storing of people's credit card numbers. The only people who need access to your credit card info are you and your bank.

That would moot this stupid patent, but who cares.

Re:What the law should really be doing (2, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232343)

What's REALLY needed is a law which prohibits the storing of people's credit card numbers. The only people who need access to your credit card info are you and your bank.

That would moot this stupid patent, but who cares.

Well, that won't happen as long as credit card issuers are responsible for any fraud. The thing is, sometimes they screw you over anyway.

Re:What the law should really be doing (1)

|Cozmo| (20603) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232533)

Shows what you know. The MERCHANTS are the ones that pay for fraud, NOT the credit card companies.
If I'm an online merchant and I ship a product to someone and it turns out to be a fraudulent transaction, once the real customer complains the money gets charged back and sucked out of my bank account, along with a hefty fee for letting the transaction go through in the first place. If I actually shipped a product out then I esentially gave it away for free.

I wouldn't be surprised if the credit card companies actually made huge amounts of profit from card theft.

Re:What the law should really be doing (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232563)

Okay, let me rephrase that: so long as consumers are only responsible for the first $50 of any fraudulent transaction, nothing is likely to change. We don't care so long as we don't get stuck with the bill, and merchants simply roll their losses into their pricing structure. We all pay in the end, in higher prices.

Re:What the law should really be doing (4, Interesting)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232439)

There are certainly risks involved with letting people store your credit card number, but I don't think the government needs to babysit us quite that much. That said, there are some similar measures I would support:

1. Minimum standards for the secure storage of those numbers. The most obvious requirement, if one doesn't yet exist, being that they can't be stored clear-text. There should probably be requirements about where it can be stored (eg, not on laptops), who can access them, etc as well.

2. A law requiring that the storage of your CC number be optional, and even default off. Too many services simply don't let you tell them not to store the number if you want to use that service, and even those that do tend to store it until you remove it. I don't think the government should be making our decisions for us--it certainly is more convenient to check out if the number is stored--but they should do what they can to let us make those decisions for ourselves if we believe the rewards outweigh the risks.

...and probably more, though that's what comes immediately to mind.

Re:What the law should really be doing (1)

witherstaff (713820) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232647)

The CC companies took it upon themselves to make up their own rules. They are pretty stringent. CISP [merchant-a...rvices.org] requires a yearly audit.

When I last looked in depth at this there was a per card theft fine of 10,000. Obviously the huge credit card thefts from some of the big merchants have never paid anywhere near that per card. But as a small business it was a deciding factor on changing our rebilling process.

Re:What the law should really be doing (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233143)

Actually, PCI [pcisecuritystandards.org] is fairly stringent. But a lot of merchants aren't there yet.

Re:What the law should really be doing (1)

gmack (197796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26234223)

PCI is too stringent and the result is that most merchants take one look and then don't even try.

Re:What the law should really be doing (1)

Fanro (130986) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232585)

Here is an idea:

Storing of credit card number is prohibited, the only way in wich credit cards may be stored or transmitted is like this

($card_info + $merchant_name + $date) encrypted with the public key of $card_issuer

That would eliminate a large part of possible fraud. companies could still offer to reuse old credentials, but it would be transparent when they do this.

patent it (1)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232643)

You should patent "a system and method for storing people's credit card numbers as part of an E-commerce system" and then demand insane license fees. Please do.

Actually, Microsoft is to be applauded in that regard: they patent many stupid, customer-hostile ideas and thereby save the world from other companies actually implementing that trash. If only Microsoft enforced its patents (and copyrights) more vigorously.

Re:What the law should really be doing (1)

DavidD_CA (750156) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233471)

Um, no thank you. If you don't want a company storing your card, then don't use them.

I buy from Amazon on a weekly basis, sometimes twice a week, and I would be incredibly frustrated if I had to type in my billing information every time, even if I only had to type in the CVN.

The convinience is precisely why I shop so much at Amazon, and why I always look there first when I want something. On the rare time that I have to shop somewhere else online, I always find myself frustrated by their annoying checkout systems which are far more complex than they need to be.

If our government wants to set standards on how card information is stored, fine. But we all know that the very next day everyone at /. will be complaining that it's not the right format, too proprietary, or too costly for the little guy.

If our government wants to require this to be opt in, then that's fine by me. In fact, every website which I've used that stores your credit card information is opt in already. I don't recall one that isn't.

So no, please don't take away my 1-Click or my opt-in billing information.

Bilski, anyone ? (3, Interesting)

dshadowwolf (1132457) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232337)

As far as I can tell this patent fails the Bilski test. It is neither tied to a particular apparatus or machine, nor does perform a unique transformation.

IANAL, but the test outlined in Bilski seems to make this patent NULL. Anyone can implement a one-click system on any machine connected to the internet.

The obviousness test is also valid in this case - at the time Amazon was pushing this through the USPTO... Well, my boss was handing me work from different clients that wanted a sign-in and one-click ordering system for their commerce sites. I had to tell him it was legally impossible each time.

So failing the "obviousness" test - it was a clearly obvious step to take. To both the people writing the code for commerce sites and to the people paying to have them written... And also seeming, to me (and I repeat - IANAL), failing the tests outlined in the Bilski case... Amazon can fight as much as they want, but this patent is a dud.

Re:Bilski, anyone ? (1)

florescent_beige (608235) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232733)

Bilski dealt with business methods and not software so the "machine" part of the machine/transformation test never came up. The method failed the transformation test because the data didn't represent anything physical.

I find that an ominous development for software patents. The transformation part of the test is unavailable in the general case. The validity of software patents seem to rest solely on the fact that software runs on machines. Whether or not a computer suffices as a machine as patent law defines it is undecided. Given the restrictive definition applied to a patentable transformation, I'd say that future decisions will restrict how easy it is for software to invoke the computer to achieve patentability.

damn and I thought I was ... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232567)

... the only one working xmas eve.

Not impressed (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232657)

Lots of people had to work Christmas Eve - including my wife (an accountant). So what? Christmas Eve isn't a holiday.

So what? (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232703)

Like DerekLyons, I know lots of people that work Christmas Eve. I had to take it off. I don't get what the huge crime is, and I AM a Christian and celebrate Christmas.

Why Defend It? (2, Interesting)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233505)

One wonders why Amazon bothers spending money on lawyers to defend a patent that's irrelevant now. All loss of the patent means is that competitors can create 1-click features on their sites, something that's far from a selling point in Amazon's favour now. Back in the day when ecommerce was the realm of pornographers, it was a slick feature to offer, but nowadays it would seem almost quaint to tout that as a reason to use one site over another.

Simple legislative fix to this (1)

melted (227442) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233589)

If they license (and sue people for) a patent that hasn't been granted yet, make them refund all licensing fees and legal expenses when patent is denied. Simple. A lot less crap would be patented in the first place unless it's truly non-obvious and innovative, and those filing patents would be scared shitless of licensing them to anyone before they're granted, let alone starting a patent lawsuit.

What IS this one click thing? (1)

DrVomact (726065) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233871)

I've been buying stuff from Amazon ever since 1886 or whenever it was that they started selling stuff. And ever since about that time, I've been ignoring their plea to sign up for "1 Click ordering". It sounds like maybe I would just click on some button and it would order stuff for me. Would it be stuff I wanted? I dunno, but I've always been afraid to turn it on. Besides, I like to think about what I'm buying, and going through a bunch of steps makes it harder for me to order stuff I don't really want, or order stuff by mistake. So what does the one click thing do anyway, and why would I want it? It must be mighty keen for them to want to fight so hard to patent it.

Does anyone actually use 1-click? (1)

CustomDesigned (250089) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235047)

The curious thing about the 1-click patent is that I don't know anyone that does or would even consider using the feature. I would never use the feature. Like most people, I want to see a summary of my order before the final click to satisfy myself that I *really* need/want to spend the money.

Rich people like Sam Walton would never use it either. The only people using it must those credit card wielding yuppies from teen movies with an infinite supply of someone else's money. I thought people like that only existed in movies - but apparently they are a major profit center for Amazon.

A sadly common tactic (1)

Hillgiant (916436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26235739)

When they have a case with little or no merits, lawyers will often attempt to make the process so unpleasant that the other party will just give up and settle. I.e. xmas-eve depositions / due dates, asking for 65,000 pages of documents in hard copy, comically long discovery processes, etc.

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