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The Grinch Who Patented Christmas

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the in-the-future-everything-will-be-patented dept.

Patents 207

theodp writes "The USPTO has reversed its earlier rejection and notified Amazon that the patent application for CEO Jeff Bezos' invention, Coordinating Delivery of a Gift, has been examined and is allowed for issuance as a patent. BTW, Amazon was represented before the USPTO by Perkins Coie, who also supplied Bezos with legal muscle in his personal fight against zoning laws that threatened to curb the size of his Medina mansion (reg.) before the City of Medina eventually gave up on regulating the size of homes (reg.)."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

So (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12973529)

what?

Medina - The columbia drug connection (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12973534)

I always knew that there was something shady about Amazon.

- Moomin

Next up... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12973535)

A patent on coordinating the erection of a tree for holiday purposes...

hardwood (1, Funny)

krumms (613921) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973577)

... so ... what you're trying to say is ... trees can get erections?

Re:hardwood (0)

Tooxs (56401) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973621)

You've never been in the forest have you.:)

Re:Next up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12973636)

Umm...I think Viagra is already patented.

Re:Next up... (1)

TeleoMan (529859) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973651)

Erection?

Re:Next up... (5, Informative)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973705)

The time is not to make fun of the patent system in general. It is the right time to call for reform in the United States. There are currently US patent reform discussions initiated by Microsofts while myriads of stupid MS lobbyists walk on the floors of the European parliament to lobby for Software patents:

* Hugo Lueders, CompTIA or Initiative for Software Choice
* Jonathan Zuck, ACT
* Simon Gentry, Campaign for Creativity
* Pleon
* DCI Group
and so on. And the more professional guys, which are also partially paid by Microsoft.

* Francisco Mingorance, Business Software Alliance
* Mark McGann, EICTA

So I recommend you to act now.

1. Help to save Europe, participate in our webdemo [eu.org]

2. Subscribe to the US FFII List [ffii.org]

We do not have to complain about the US patent system, we can change it.

Re:Next up... (5, Funny)

FLEB (312391) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973941)

The time is not to make fun of the patent system in general. It is the right time to call for reform in the United States.

Can't we do both?

Re:Next up... (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973990)

Help to save Europe, participate in our webdemo

Did just that. Unfortunatly I can not go to the demonstation itself. :-(

Move to Mexico (1, Informative)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973538)

Seriously folks, corporate america ownz the government.

No, move to China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12973578)

They don't have problems with patents...

How about Russia? (0)

The_Mystic_For_Real (766020) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973628)

In Soviet Russia, the government ownz corporations! I think Hell just froze over.

Re:Move to Mexico (1)

ckedge (192996) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973683)

.
But wait. If patenting *business methods* is okay, why don't we strike back by patenting all the known business methods that haven't been patentented by everyone else yet?

SERIOUSLY. The FSF should try to patent many of the key things that McDonalds, Chrysler, Disney, and NBC do, and start fucking *everyone else* over.
.

Re:Move to Mexico (2, Informative)

1lus10n (586635) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973730)

The EFF doesnt have the resources to do that. Niether do most small business's, thats a very large part of the problem. Large companies patents thousands of things every year.

Re:Move to Mexico (1)

saforrest (184929) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973782)

SERIOUSLY. The FSF should try to patent many of the key things that McDonalds, Chrysler, Disney, and NBC do, and start fucking *everyone else* over.

The power of the corporations stems not from the loopholes in the patent system, but from the fact that they have money. Patents are the instruments of this control.

Applying for patents means little if you don't have the legal resources to defend them in court.

Re:Move to Mexico (1)

E8086 (698978) | more than 9 years ago | (#12974100)

good idea, someone needs to patent the "business practice" of producing songs that no one wants to hear and then suing people who you think could possibly be downloading them to make up for lost revenues due to the unpopularity of your crap and failed business methods. Then sue the RIAA every time it throws out random lawsuits.

bad moderation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12973919)

This is what, the second post? It is not redundant.

I'm getting tired og people being moderated down for apparently unpopular opinions.

Apparently it is beyond some of us to reply with a counter opinion instead of blatantly censoring pepple's posts.

A paradox (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12973541)

A method in a computer system for coordinating the delivery a gift given by a gift giver to a recipient when the gift giver did not provide sufficient delivery information.

But if the required information can be found from other sources (as the patent describes) then the gift giver has supplied sufficient information.

So the patent doesn't apply to any possible situation.

Entrapment (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12973575)

Seller: "Where's it going?"

Undercover patent police: "Melbourne"

Seller: "That's in Australia isn't it?"

UPP: "I'm really not sure..."

Seller: "Okay, I'll just check on the map..."

UPP: "Got you, you evil evil patent infringer."

Re:A paradox (1)

hugzz (712021) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973778)

But if the required information can be found from other sources (as the patent describes) then the gift giver has supplied sufficient information.

So the patent doesn't apply to any possible situation.

From TFP it seems that the extra information is gathered from the gift receiver, not the gift giver. Thus, the patent applies to every situation in which it's supposed to apply.

-1, Troll (0, Offtopic)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973544)

who modded this up?

Re:-1, Troll (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12973647)

who hasn't modded the parent down?

The zoning laws (4, Funny)

Popageorgio (723756) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973547)

were actually about his Santa-killing spiked chimney.

New Standard or Old Idea? (1)

mfh (56) | more than 9 years ago | (#12974058)

were actually about his Santa-killing spiked chimney.

The legal aspects of patenting Santa Claus' delivery of gifts is pretty low -- I am against it. I would still like to see these kinds of delivery improvements to all shipping services, so that I could actually send a gift to someone I did not know. So my comment is only about the idea of a service, and not really about this Grinch in particular.

A few years ago, I had problems with the refund policy at Future Shop, a Canadian company that is a little like Best Buy. In a fit of blind rage, I smashed the defective software cds they refused to refund me for. With this service, I could have sent a piece of the cds to each executive at the company with a note about their horrible customer service and I could have had the PLEASURE of knowing my message WAS RECEIVED by the people in question.

I don't know about Christmas, but it would be nice to be able to trust a shipping company to actually find out where people are so you can remind them of their responsibilities.

Oh great... (2, Funny)

gmezero (4448) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973551)

Yet another way for cam girls to get presents without exposing their address.

Re: Oh great... (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973606)


> Yet another way for cam girls to get presents without exposing their address.

Must be some law of conservation of exposure.

Bwahahahaha! (3, Funny)

DanielMarkham (765899) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973560)

I've actually patented the opening of gifts. So take that, Bezos!

Things are heating up! [whattofix.com]

Now you are wondering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12973562)

Why Bill Gates is acclaimed as a rock star? The image and reputation of those fine businessman and lawyer chaps is being tarnished by a few rotten apples. I tell you.

Isn't this obvious (4, Interesting)

oo_waratah (699830) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973565)

The concept of taking an order and then figuring out the address has been common in business practices for years. It is called get the cash then figure out how to meet the delivery. I ring them to get working on a major order, I then call back to confirm delivery instructions. I do this with hardware, or computer gear, or flowers. Flowers are typically a gift, so that would cover the prior art idea.

Most computer systems have the ability to modify the delivery address after the original input. Wouldn't this be prior art?

Re:Isn't this obvious (5, Informative)

servoled (174239) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973601)

Can you prove that this has been done for years? Unfortunatley the courts have set the burden of proving obviousness so high that it becomes difficult to reject something as being obvious.

If you would like to take a crack at doing it here is basically what would be required:
1) a dated publication or with a date prior to 9/12/1997 which discloses at least part of the claimed invention.

2) one or more dated publications with dates prior to 9/12/1997 which disclose the features that are not disclosed in the first dated publication and disclose motivation to add these missing features into the system of the first publication (i.e. simply because the features may exist individuallly does not mean that it would be obvious to combine them into a single system according to the courts).

Is it just me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12973981)

Or does that sound completely and utterly insane?

Why the hell are the patent lawyers paid to go around making shit up? Because that's essentially what it looks like they get to do. They don't actually do anything productive.

IMO it's going to be patent lawyers who will be the first up against the wall when the revolution comes.

Re:Isn't this obvious (1, Insightful)

Evro (18923) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973608)

The problem with the USPTO is that they don't consider anything "obvious" if you add these three little words to the end of it: on the Internet. Just add those and everything old is new again as far as they're concerned.

Re:Isn't this obvious (2, Funny)

houghi (78078) | more than 9 years ago | (#12974007)

on the Internet. Just add those and everything old is new again as far as they're concerned.

Now I understand your signature.

Re:Isn't this obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12973645)

What you're saying is essentially this:

Does automation of an already largely used process constitute an improvement over previous patents or is different enough from prior art?

Think about it, write your answer down, incorporate that into a nice letter and mail the result to your representative.

Re:Isn't this obvious (4, Informative)

servoled (174239) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973675)

The courts have visited this issue, see here [uspto.gov] :
In re Venner, 262 F.2d 91, 95, 120 USPQ 193, 194 (CCPA 1958) (Appellant argued that claims to a permanent mold casting apparatus for molding trunk pistons were allowable over the prior art because the claimed invention combined "old permanent-mold structures together with a timer and solenoid which automatically actuates the known pressure valve system to release the inner core after a predetermined time has elapsed." The court held that broadly providing an automatic or mechanical means to replace a manual activity which accomplished the same result is not sufficient to distinguish over the prior art.).
The question then becomes whether or not automatically generating an e-mail to the recipient instead of calling the recipient is "broadly providing an automatic or mechanical means to replace a manual activity which accomplished the same result" according to the courts. Having not read the decision I really can't comment on that.

Re:Isn't this obvious (3, Insightful)

Ritchie70 (860516) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973999)

This is, in fact, something the floral industry does routinely with respect to funeral arrangements. Someone calls with an order "for the John Smith of Benson, IL funeral" and the florist starts calling around trying to figure out what funeral home has John on ice.

Re:Isn't this obvious (1)

serutan (259622) | more than 9 years ago | (#12974082)

If I read the patent right, it seems to cover the whole delivery decision tree, including calling the recipient on the phone to get their address. I find it hard to believe that any judge intelligent enough to show up in court fully dressed would accept this as an innovation.

Seattle Times Company (1)

Dlovely (877066) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973568)

You requested access to our archives, which requires registration. Please sign in or register below for unlimited access to our sites and services. Not on Bugmenot (ugh!)

Login for article (3, Informative)

dinomite (177112) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973576)

Username: 67pnmoil
Password: 67pnmoil

doesnt werk any more... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12973614)

... you moron.... ...cuz i changed the password...

muahahahahha

bruahahahahahah

this world is just so evil. mankind hates each other and their mother and brother....

humankind doesnt deserve this planet.

thank dubya and see ya in some other universe

Re:doesnt werk any more... (1)

bohemian_observer (886213) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973715)

ok, so u offically are a backstabbing asshole

Re:doesnt werk any more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12973825)

you are a pathetic piece of shit

I hope the original poster has you arrested for "hacking" lol

Re:Login for article (1)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973654)

Doesn't work because of the anonymous coward that just changed the password. Apparently being an ass does not keep you from reading slashdot. Well, this login should please him. Here's a login that was apparently created by an ass . Got it from www.bugmenot.com UN: george.im.an.idiot.bush@whitehouse.gov PASS: alcohol

It's like this: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12973579)

  • Bezos is a cunt
  • His lawyers are cunts
  • The USPTO are a bunch of cunts
Any Questions?

Patent raising children (4, Interesting)

Weezul (52464) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973582)

It would be cool for a group of developmental psychologists to get together, do a really brilliant job organizing what they already know about the best techniques for raising children and training day care personnel, and then set up a company to patent them all Once their research eventually made it to the front page of nature, people would want to use it, but discover that they could only do it if they made their day care into a franchise. It might help get people's attention, especially if the day care patents are far more legally sound then this garbage, plus it might make some developmental psychologists and their financial backers very rich.

Re:Patent raising children (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12973615)

Do you really want to encourage people in this country to abandon good child-rearing practices even more than they already do?

Re:Patent raising children (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12973630)

Not sure if day care techniques qualify as "algorithms, etc." but business model patents might help. Not going to stop your idea though, as you were going to need deep pockets to defend it anyway.

BTW, Just noticed this got a -1 redundent. Isn't this the ONLY non-redundent post in the discussion? Is there an unofficial policy to only mod up redundent jokes about patenting things which even the USPO wouldn't give a patent for (in a patent discussion)?

Re:Patent raising children (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12973728)

There are already daycare "acadamies" out there, e.g. Montessori. I imagine they have at least some professional staff onboard.

Good Job Asshat (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12973587)

Post links to news stories that require regestration without actually saying that they require registration. Smooth move dilhole. Fucker.

Medina?Islamic Names Should be Forbidden in the US (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12973625)

Medina? This is the United States, not Saudi Arabia!

In the US Islamic names should be replaced with wholesome, Christian or at least Biblical names.

Patenting the Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12973635)

Is the Internet still up for grabs?

Since the USPTO is letting just ANYTHING through.. (2, Insightful)

Donniedarkness (895066) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973641)

Why dont we try to patent "Protecting Intellectual Property from Theft"... They'd probably let it go through, too...

Re:Since the USPTO is letting just ANYTHING throug (1)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973660)

Better yet:

Patent the concept of protecting copyrighted and patented materials from the useless and redundant moniker of "Intellectual Property". Information wants to be with me. ;P (I do not condone piracy. I'm not a narc. I like buying and owning things as long as they are worth it.)

Gamer (1, Informative)

otter42 (190544) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973653)

I'm sorry, does Bezos actually have a clue about doing things, or is all he knows how to game the patent and legal system?

Officially, I'm now boycotting Amazon.com and will recommend to all my friends to do likewise.

Re:Gamer (1)

woodsrunner (746751) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973686)

I agree, plus Amazon has gone downhill fast. If I buy anything from them it's thru an associate who will deliver books days, often weeks faster... although I have found books on ebay to be an even better deal and faster than an amazon associate especially considering I am paying for the ebay books with personal check vs. cc w/ amazon.

Seems like Amazon is putting all of their effort in to patenting their competition out of business rather than plain outperformance. If they keep this up, they'll be out of business of books and doing lawsuits fulltime keeping the world from doing business on the internet.

Re:Gamer (1)

carguy84 (897052) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973694)

Same thought crossed my mind. But it does take two to tango, so I'm going to also boycott patents too. AND I'm going to create an e-commerce site that automatically fills in a shopping cart, runs a credit card number thru the system and ships to some address we have in a database. All the user has to do is just hit the homepage and some one else gets charged and some one else gets the product. I'm going to call it *tramazon.com*

Chip-

Re:Gamer (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973898)

traumazon.com would me much more appropriate.

Re:Gamer (1)

carguy84 (897052) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973933)

ha, oops. guess it is a little too early for my brain to be functioning correctly. Chip-

Re:Gamer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12973966)

I used to think that way, but then decided that this is a superficial and wrong-headed position, because the more obviously unworthy patents people like Jeff can get, the easier it is to argue for patent reform. The problem is not with Jeff Bezos, but with the laws and the institutions that implement them.

Re:Gamer (0, Troll)

westlake (615356) | more than 9 years ago | (#12974049)

I'm sorry, does Bezos actually have a clue about doing things

Bezos net worth in 2003 was $4.95 billion dollars.

I'm now boycotting Amazon.com and will recommend to all my friends to do likewise.

In most circles, getting a parcel delivered on time and to the right address is considered a good thing.

Re:Gamer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12974120)

Officially, I'm now boycotting Amazon.com and will recommend to all my friends to do likewise

Hasn't recommending things to people been patented?

United States of Greed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12973656)

How greedy are we? Let's allow the ownership of thoughts and ideas and imprison or fine anyone who thinks like we do. Gives new meaning to the "Think Different" slogan. In the future it might be the only way to avoid ending up in court.

Re:United States of Greed (1)

takev (214836) | more than 9 years ago | (#12974027)

Nah, by then you simply pay the thinking fee using taxes.

Behold another American (0, Flamebait)

bohemian_observer (886213) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973662)

Oh, crap. This money swimming drunk bastard sitting in his excesive outlaw mansion is spawning to life another annoying, insulting and not forget to mention stupid "shopping" patent.

USPTO - Powered by Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12973671)

Has anyone noticed that much of the USPTO's website appears to have M$ fonts?

A little freedom, eh? (3, Insightful)

toupsie (88295) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973680)

who also supplied Bezos with legal muscle in his personal fight against zoning laws that threatened to curb the size of his Medina mansion (reg.) before the City of Medina eventually gave up on regulating the size of homes (reg.).

What the hell does the size of Bezos' home have to do with a patent? That's right, NOTHING! We have something in this country called liberty and if Bezos owns land and wants to build a house that uses 99.9% of it, he should be able to build it. City councils dictating to folks about the style and size of private homes is over the line. Safety standards and building codes are fine within reason.

Oh, and the patent sucks, Bezos is a jerk...

Re:A little freedom, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12973712)

It's a potential conflict of interest.

Re:A little freedom, eh? (3, Insightful)

korekrash (853240) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973747)

I think they just wanted to show that this attorney has a track record of bullying the government.About his home.....You can't put personal freedom before the welfare of the general public. If building some gargantuan home is going to cause issues for those around them, be it intrinsic or financial, that presents a problem. Now your actions are infringing on the rights of others. Freedom doesn't mean absence of regulation.

Re:A little freedom, eh? (2, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973891)

That's true, but you missed a more important point. Freedom doesn't mean the absence of self-regulation. If people can re-learn the knack of regulating themselves (this is often called "a sense of personal responsibility") lawyers and governments will be out of business. Don't hold your breath, though.

Re:A little freedom, eh? (1)

RWerp (798951) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973967)

You mean this kind of self-regulation we had in the stone age?

Re:A little freedom, eh? (1)

RWerp (798951) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973988)

Cities care about how they look, that's why people can't build just anything they want.

Prior Art published Feb 1, 2002 (or 1995)?? (4, Interesting)

originalhack (142366) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973687)

From here [smbiz.com] .

Make sure you have a good address. If there's any doubt, call the customer or look up the address in an on-line or CD directory.

So, when will we stop issuing patents for using a computer to do EXACTLY the same thing that was previously done without it?

Now, if we'll let Jeff patent using a computer for exactly what was done without it, the 1995 publication of doing exaclty the same thing in the electronic world should act as prior art. From rfc1801 [ietf.org]

22.4 Bad Addresses If there is a bad address, it is desirable to do a directory search to find alternatives. This is a helpful user service and may be supported. This function is invoked after address checking has failed, and where this is no user supplied alternate recipient. This function would be an MTA-chosen alternative to administratively assigned alternate recipient.
VERY innovative Jeff

Re:Prior Art published Feb 1, 2002 (or 1995)?? (1)

iamnotanumber6 (755703) | more than 9 years ago | (#12974011)

because that one is about delivering *e-mail*, while this one is about delivering *books*, which is a *completely different* and *incredibly innovative* idea which *no-one else* would have thought of.

wow. he is a genius. he and his descendents deserve to exclusively reap the fruits of his incredible mind for all eternity.

Welcome back (-1, Offtopic)

Cally (10873) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973688)

Where the hell was slashdot for the last 6-8 hours? it was answering pings for a while but not accessible on tcp/80. Traceroutes from here and other places (see traceroute.org - U Orgeon is a good site) were dying at the last hop with !H (ie host not accessible.) Interestingly traceroutes from within Savvis (Slashdot's upstream provider) were fine,even from Amsterdam. Any chance of a post-mortem? Major BGP brainfarto perhaps? Enquiring minds want to know...

Yeah yeah, Off Topic, I know, mod me down *sigh*

Re:Welcome back (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12973878)

wow! Don't you have anything better to do with your life than analyzing traceroutes when Slashdot is down for a couple hours?

China Mieville's Christmas story (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12973725)

Re:China Mieville's Christmas story (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973955)

*snip snip* Judaism anyone?

Well, no morelooking up the Zip Code.. (2, Insightful)

SmegTheLight (521218) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973799)


So, after reading the patent, as I understand it, I am allowed to look up a Zip Code for my personal enjoyment, but if I do it for a web client sending a package to someone, I have to licence the right to look up the freeken zip code !!!

Un Friggen Believable..

why pick on Amazon? (5, Interesting)

CoughDropAddict (40792) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973802)

I hate the patent crazyness as much as anyone. But why so many stories about Amazon's patents in particular? Amazon is a relative lightweight in the patent scene. IBM walks to the patent office with a stack of patents every single week. I'm sure you can find plenty to pick on in their applications.

Not to mention that Amazon is often on the receiving end of patent aggression. If you look at Amazon's most recent 10Q [10kwizard.com] , you'll see that Amazon is currently the defendent in five patent infringement lawsuits.

Pinpoint, inc. is suing Amazon for patent infringement related to site personalization.

Soverain Software is suing Amazon for patent infringement of four of their patents, including a "Digital Sales System" and "Digital Active Advertising."

IPXL holdings is suing Amazon for infringement of a patent titled "Electronic Fund Transfer or Transaction System."

BTG International is suing Amazon for infringement of a patent titled "Attaching Navigational History Information to Universal Resource Locator Links on a World Wide Web Page."

Cendant Publishing is suing Amazon for infringement of a patent related to recommendations.

If you despise patent aggression, Amazon is not your poster child for patent abuse. Not even close. Amazon is taking a lot more than it's dishing out.

Disclaimer: I work for Amazon, but of course do not speak for them.

Return of the classic (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12973835)

Good ol' Stalin* defence. I haven't seen this one for a while.

Amazon isn't as bad as Stalin*, therefor Amazon is good in every possible way.

*feel free to replace Stalin with anything else that is generally bad

Re:Return of the classic (2, Funny)

earthbound kid (859282) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973877)

Good ol' Stalin* defence. I haven't seen this one for a while.

Amazon isn't as bad as Stalin*, therefore Amazon is good in every possible way.

*feel free to replace Stalin with anything else that is generally bad


Hey, the Stalin defense isn't as bad as Amazon's One Click Patent, therefore the Stalin defense is good in every possible way!

Re:why pick on Amazon? (4, Interesting)

cgenman (325138) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973887)

A: Amazon arguably started the rediculousness with patenting 1-click shopping. It became a poster child for everything that was wrong with the patent system. From then, people realized that basically anything was patentable.

B: Amazon (or at least it's founders) were involved in a failed orginazation that offered rewards to root out bad patents.

C: Amazon continues to get rediculous patents.

In other words, Amazon has put itself squarely in the middle of the stupid patent debate, by A: being the first and B: publically and flagrantly playing both sides.

Maybe it doesn't look that way from the inside, but from the outside Amazon has become a rediculous symbol, and this patent isn't helping.

Even worse. (2, Informative)

dmaxwell (43234) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973920)


B: Amazon (or at least it's founders) were involved in a failed orginazation that offered rewards to root out bad patents.


Amazon used work done by this organization to obtain yet another bad patent. I gotta admire the chutzpah and sheer size of their nads myself. It in the chutzpah department it even outdoes MS pulling IE for the Mac because "we can't compete with Apple on their own platform" or even "MS will now offer antivirus and spyware protection....".

Re:why pick on Amazon? (2, Interesting)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 9 years ago | (#12974012)

Absolutely. But to at least some of us, Amazon was also a little frustrating from another standpoint.

When the .com "boom" was underway, Amazon just followed the same boneheaded business model that most of the others were taking; grow as big as possible, as fast as possible!

I remember reading more than one interview with Bezos back then that made it pretty clear the guy really didn't have much of a "common sense" business plan at all. He was often asked exactly what types of products or services he planned to concentrate on offering, and always gave back silly answers like "everything!".

For a while there, I remember them trying to compete directly with eBay, via "Amazon Auctions" - and it seemed like it was starting to gain some traction. I thought "Ah! Finally, Amazon has something really worth pursuing here!" I used their auction site and got great results. Very competitive, results-wise, with what I got from eBay but a little cheaper to use. But then they went off on some other tangent (as I recall, a big hoopla about partnering up with Toys 'r Us and becoming the largest online toy retailer?), and the auction site went into decline as eBay ate their lunch.

Then, that didn't pan out as expected either. All along, they were doing respectable book sales - but people kept questioning how Amazon would really attain/keep profitability as "merely on online bookseller", since books take lots of physical space to warehouse, go out of date rapidly in some cases, don't always have much markup, can get costly to ship, and it's a space with lots of competition.

I've always had a strong feeling that Amazon survived much more by luck than by expert guidance by Bezos or anything of that sort. His "let's get our hands in the middle of everything, and do it all!" attitude should have been the death of the business. That's NOT a smart idea - and shouldn't get your face on the front of magazines as "C.E.O. of the year"! But lots of others went bust faster than he did, so he got lots of inertia just by being "last man standing" in some areas. And perhaps all those non-profitable book sales finally earned him a lot of "brand recognition" that helped too. So now, he's managed to sell a "critical mass" of things that *are* profitable to sell in quantity, so it haphazzardly fell together. But bleah.... I can't say that makes me "respect" their business model.

Re:why pick on Amazon? (1)

kalleguld (624992) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973911)

This is not picking on Amazon, this is picking on the US patent office for issuing this patent (and a lot of other "stupid" patents).
IMO Amazon is just doing that they can to stay in business and limit the flow of patent-lawsuits going against them. Anything else would be downright stupid of them.
But something clearly needs to be done; The internet is still a new world with lots to explore, and the only thing to do, as I see it, is to abandon or limit patents in this field until this new world has reached some kind of maturity and we have some fundamental technologies in place.
Afterall, where would we be today if someone had a patent named "Combining bricks and mortar to form a house"?

Why not? (0, Flamebait)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973914)

IBM walks to the patent office with a stack of patents every single week. I'm sure you can find plenty to pick on in their applications.

Because IBM is the GNU/OSS and GNU/Linux golden boy company for taking on SCO? It's silly, but you know it's true.

If you despise patent aggression, Amazon is not your poster child for patent abuse. Not even close. Amazon is taking a lot more than it's dishing out.

Just wait until your little nothing e-commerce site gets reasonably big (yeah, right), than see if Amazon minds if you are "infringing" on one of their patents. How a nice day being OWNED.

Not to mention that Amazon is often on the receiving end of patent aggression.

Just because Amazon has been caught infringing on other peoples patents does not mean the patents they hold are a gross abuse of the patent system, in fact there is no relationship there at all.

Disclaimer: I work for Amazon, but of course do not speak for them.

You seem to speak pretty well for them. Pass you post by the PR / lawyer folks, did you?

Re:why pick on Amazon? (0)

Albanach (527650) | more than 9 years ago | (#12974073)

IBM walks to the patent office with a stack of patents every single week. I'm sure you can find plenty to pick on in their applications.

Perhaps when Amazon name 500 of their patents [ibm.com] that Open Source can use freely they too will be welcomed by OSS programmers.

Disclaimer: I work for Amazon, but of course do not speak for them.

Perhaps then you can speak to someone who does and suggest this as a strategy. After all if the patents are only intended as a defence against bottom feeding lawyers, they have nothing to lose and everything to gain from friends in the OSS community.

Medina... (1)

rthille (8526) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973810)

Can always just claim eminent domain and confiscate their houses to put in Wal-Marts. Given the size of their houses, they won't even have to tear them down and build new buildings, just gut the interiors.

Just goes to show (1)

BCW2 (168187) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973870)

That there is not one person at the USPTO that has the common sense that God gave a pissant. I seriously doubt that any one of them could either: poor piss out of a boot if the instructions were on the heel, or find their ass with both hands on the best day they will ever have?

Re:Just goes to show (1)

arkhan_jg (618674) | more than 9 years ago | (#12974050)

They would however allow the patenting of
"Finding the posterior with one or both hands" and
"Pouring urine from a piece of footwear" in a snap.

Penalties (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12973897)

The real issue is there is no real penalty for patenting aleady used things. I think for each and every "instance" of prior art, there should be a fine of $500. If there are numerouse instances, then I think the patent holder should be guilty of fraud and thrown into jail...

Easy to get around this one (1)

drphil (320469) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973905)

As with most of these biz model or software patents this one seems trivially easy to get around. It seems like *any* type of human intervention anywhere in the process and it's no longer "a computer system" as required by claim 1. So have the whole process automated as described by the patent, but have some minimum wage flunky approve of one step in the process by hitting a return key. Now you're outside the scope of the patent. I'm sure there are more creative ways of getting around this patent, but it doesn't sound like too big of a deal.
And, no, this patent does not prevent you from looking up receipients' addresses or zip codes or calling them. You, yourself, can do anything you want. If you write code to completely automate the process, then you need to read the patent and figure out what step you'll do differently to be outside the scope -this shouldn't be too taxing. Process patents generally are pretty weak and the burdon will be on Amazon to prove someone is infriging (not the other way around).

RTFA (1)

PhYrE2k2 (806396) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973976)

... "when the gift giver did not provide sufficient delivery information."

This patent is only for contacting the individual to determine more information. So on the other hand, give a name and city, and they'll figure it out.

-M

Why are we surprised. (1)

delire (809063) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973993)


Patent offices are hardly champions of justice, reason or let alone invention. They are paper pushing businesses in whose best interest it is to relax the conditions for what is considered patentable.

Sure, the problem begins with patents themselves (esp software and pharmaceutical patents) but this can be stemmed at the level of the State even allowing Patent Offices to operate as enterprises (with marketing divisions, lobbyists, investment incentives) in their own right.

And further down, at the level of the patent holder - if we are to live with these absurd monopolies on ideas called sofware patents, then lets ensure that those granted patents have licenses to drive them without hurting other humans. At is stands patents are actually killing people (pharmacs), and when they are not doing that, they are truncating innovation through discouraging improvement upon existing technologies, ideas, bodies and things.

It costs alot to register a patent but it costs alot more to research potential breaches. This is the slow but psychological violence of patent monopolies.

Patent application abuse prevention (2, Interesting)

SlashCrunchPop (699733) | more than 9 years ago | (#12973994)

What I would like to see is legislation that would prevent abusive companies like Amazon from launching such Denial of Service attacks on the USPTO, our economy and us as tax payers. Such abusive companies are filing thousands of ridiculous patent applications and counting on statistics to have a few of their riduculous patent applications slip through and get approved as well as to have initially rejected patent applications reversed. In the end those silly patents will get overturned and rejected, but it will cost us all a lot of time and tax payers' money.

There should be a law mandating that if a legal entity files more than a certain number of patent applications within a certain period of time (say, more than 5 within 30 days) and either more than a certain number of patent applications filed by that same legal entity within a longer period of time had been rejected (say, more than 5 rejected in the last 180 days) or the percentage of all the rejected patent applications ever filed by that legal entity exceeds a certain percentage (say, more than 25% rejected), then such a legal entity is only allowed to file no more than a certain number of patent applications per month (say, no more than 3 per month).

Re:Patent application abuse prevention (1)

AutopsyReport (856852) | more than 9 years ago | (#12974097)

I think it would be a better step to invite legislation to reject all software-based patent applications, as I'm sure that would free up resources to more legitimate patents.

Besides, it's not necessarily the volume of applications that earns the applicant more patents, it's the fact that the USPTO seems to consider every type of patent application a viable one. You'd think there would be some sort of patent structure to filter out these unfounded, common-sense patents like Amazon's latest.

What about Canada? (2, Interesting)

AutopsyReport (856852) | more than 9 years ago | (#12974059)

Anyone know if patenting problems like this exist in Canada? The last time I looked into patents in Canada, you could not patent any algorithm, formula, method, etc., related to computer software. It really didn't matter if you had a genius solution to something, it would rejected because it was built around software.

I look at this patent and it is so absurdly unoriginal that it should warrant rejection. Given that this patent was accepted, it amazes me that the concept of a Forum/Messageboard hasn't been patented already. And that's just one idea.

List of alternatives? (2, Interesting)

springMute (873579) | more than 9 years ago | (#12974079)

Maybe I'm too out of the loop, but does anyone have a list of big, generic, all-purpose online bookstores with good quality? With a global reach of course, since I'm not in the USA.

Re:List of alternatives? (3, Informative)

AutopsyReport (856852) | more than 9 years ago | (#12974113)

I believe Barnes & Noble [barnesandnoble.com] ships worldwide.
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