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Amazon Using Patent Reform to Strengthen 1-Click

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the song-and-dance-routine dept.

Patents 71

theodp writes "As some predicted, lawyers for Amazon.com have recently submitted 1-Click prior art solicited by Tim O'Reilly under the auspices of Jeff Bezos' patent reform effort to the USPTO, soliciting a 'favorable action' that would help bulletproof the patent. Last June, an Amazon lobbyist referred to deficiencies with the same prior art as he tried to convince Congress that 1-Click was novel, prompting Rep. Howard Berman to call BS."

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Yea! (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18133130)

More restrictive nonsence. Just what we need.

chimes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18133274)

It's people like you, always complaining, that really get on my chimes.

One-Click? (4, Insightful)

WannabeAnonymous (980301) | more than 7 years ago | (#18133146)

Amazon seems to have made an error in its patent claim. When I try to use amazon.com's one-click system to make a purchase, I hear and feel two clicks.

Re:One-Click? (1)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 7 years ago | (#18133918)

If Amazon can patent "one click", then B&N should patent "two click" through "hundred click". Then, if Amazon needs any more than a single click to buy anything you want from the site, B&N can sue.

Kinda like the joke about 7-minute abs...

Re:One-Click? (1)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 7 years ago | (#18133920)

I know it's bad taste to reply to myself, but here goes:

How about a JavaScript action for "no click" shopping? Just hold the mouse over the "buy now" button and it's automagically shipped to your door.

Re:One-Click? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18133964)

I'm sure some sites already try something like that with AJAX. To reduce their costs, 'tho, they eliminate the steps after they collect your money.

Re:One-Click? (2, Informative)

mtmra70 (964928) | more than 7 years ago | (#18133942)

I purchased an item the other day witb "1 click".

I did the following:
  -clicked the "1 click" button
  -confirmed my order (2nd click)
  -confirmed my credit card (3rd click)
  -confirmed my address (4th click)
  -confirmed that I did actually want the item, again (5th click)

Re:One-Click? (1)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 7 years ago | (#18134120)

They never do explain properly to customers what "1-click" is. I never use it. I keep thinking it would skip steps 2-5 and who wants that?

Off topic question-Slashdot on OSX Mozilla Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18134624)

Is it just my system, or did the right-click (hold down the mouse and wait for the menu, actually) stop working on most of the links on Slashot a couple of days ago?

Big pain, because I can't "Open in New Tab".

Mozilla 1.7.13 on Mac OS 10.3.9

Other sites seem to be fine.

Re:Off topic question-Slashdot on OSX Mozilla Prob (1)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 7 years ago | (#18136542)

It works fine on a Win XP box using Firefox 2.0.0.2, ctrl-(left-)click also opens links in in new tab and so does middle click. I don't know much about macs, but the one button mouse probably rules out the latter for you so try ctrl-click.

Re:Off topic question-Slashdot on OSX Mozilla Prob (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18137460)

I was experimenting earlier, and the ctrl-click seems to work.

But normally on the Mac, and on every other site, holding down the left (only) button for about 1 second makes the context menu come up, like a right click.

There seems to be some links on Slashdot that can't even be clicked at all. Other sites work OK, so I'm wondering if something showed up in the Slashdot code that is triggering a Mozilla bug. Or if there is some weirdness on my machine.

Any Mac users who can comment?

1 Click (5, Insightful)

nagora (177841) | more than 7 years ago | (#18133158)

1-Click is an obvious use of cookies. In fact, it's almost exactly what cookies were developed for. Amazon are lying bastards when they claim that this is their idea.

Don't buy from Amazon. Is it really that hard to understand?

Re:1 Click (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18133236)

Don't buy from Amazon. Is it really that hard to understand?

What's the alternative?

What I'd really like is an alternative with an option to automatically send my receipts to Amazon with the message: here's some more business you lost due to your stupid manipulation of the patent system.

Re:1 Click (2, Informative)

The Rizz (1319) | more than 7 years ago | (#18133458)

[Re: Buying from Amazon]

What's the alternative?

I find that buy.com is generally better for books, and DeepDiscountDVD, DigitalEyes, and other sites are better for DVDs. Some of the other areas (power tools, food, etc.) I don't know about, but I can't imagine there aren't better places on the 'net to buy the same items for cheaper, and with as good or better customer service.

Re:1 Click (2, Interesting)

bangzilla (534214) | more than 7 years ago | (#18134202)

"Buy.com better for books" Buy.com has a fraction of the number of books that Amazon offers. Quick review of top 10 selling books on Amazon and Buy.com show that Amazon lists them cheaper Free shipping for purchases over $25 on Amazon (not Buy.com) and no cost shipping if you are an Amazon prime member. Customer Service at Amazon is year after year rated very high by independent surveys (*much* higher than Buy.com) So - all reasons why Amazon is better for books. What are the reasons you say Buy.com is better for books???? Price - No, Selection - No, Customer Service - No.... what? Thanks

buy.com vs. amazon.com (3, Informative)

The Rizz (1319) | more than 7 years ago | (#18137848)

Buy.com has a fraction of the number of books that Amazon offers.
If you mean they have a fraction of the books listed, then yes - but whenever I do a search, over 50% of the titles that pop up on Amazon are not even sold by them, and most likely never were. As for the rest, that's probably because Amazon.com opened their doors years before buy.com did - buy.com won't have books in stock that went out of print before they opened for business.

Quick review of top 10 selling books on Amazon and Buy.com show that Amazon lists them cheaper
In that case, Amazon and/or Buy.com are giving you different prices than they're showing me.
Polling the top 10 books from amazon.com [amazon.com] and comparing them to buy.com's prices gives me 3 prices within 1 cent of each other, 3 prices better at buy.com, 3 prices better at amazon.com, and one book that isn't listed at buy.com (however, this book is from the 90s and isn't even in stock at Amazon).
Polling the top 10 books from buy.com [buy.com] and comparing them to Amazon's prices gives me 6 within 1 cent of each other, and 4 better prices at buy.com.
This leaves Buy.com with a lead in the number of cheaper books.

Free shipping for purchases over $25 on Amazon (not Buy.com) and no cost shipping if you are an Amazon prime member.
OK, now I know you're on crack, a shill for Amazon, or both. Buy.com has had free shipping on $25 orders for as long as I can remember.
As for the "no cost shipping if you are an Amazon prime member", that's not true: You're paying monthly/yearly membership fees to be an Amazon Prime member, so you are paying for that "free" shipping - you're just paying in advance.

Customer Service at Amazon is year after year rated very high by independent surveys (*much* higher than Buy.com)
I've actually never had a single problem with either of them, so from my perspective Buy.com is indeed "as good or better". I also was referencing sites other than Buy.com in that sentence, and I'm sure there ARE other sites that are definitely better for customer service (small shops with that personal touch, etc.)

What are the reasons you say Buy.com is better for books????
Price - No, Selection - No, Customer Service - No.... what?
Price: Yes, by a 7:3 margin, if you don't count the books identical in price.
Selection: Debatable - Amazon lists just about every book ever published (many they have never stocked), but have an older inventory than Buy.com.
Customer Service: Debatable - They are pretty comparable from my point of view.

Re:1 Click (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 7 years ago | (#18141380)

For tech books, bookpool.com has better prices. If you go to a brick and mortar barnes and noble, they usually have an "annex" section with heavily discounted books.

I remember the good old days when amazon.com gave out coupons like CmdrTaco gave out blowjobs at a jr high school. Combined with a credit card that paid out in amazon gift certificates, I bought a lot of books and CDs. Since then they've raised prices and I've found better uses for my scratch.

Re:1 Click (2, Insightful)

bangzilla (534214) | more than 7 years ago | (#18134162)

"stupid manipulation of the patent system" - and what is the manipulation? Amazon files a patent, Patent review is performed by examiners, patent is granted. Where is the "manipulation"..? If you can't provide proof of "manipulation" then please keep your rhetoric to yourself - it does nothing to help this dicussion. You may not like the patent process - that's a valid complaint. But don't try and mislead others about "manipulation" without eveidence or proof. Thanks!

Re:1 Click (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18136488)

[My second attempt at a reply...]

When a company patents an obvious idea, particularly in the field of software, I believe that is unethical and manipulative.

Your turn.

Re:1 Click (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 7 years ago | (#18146988)

The US government and it's corporate supporters decided that IP exploitation is very profitable and implemented a system of anything goes patents, then attempted to use implied military threats and government bullying to try and force their B$ patents on every other country.

The US patent office allows just about anything, because even challenging the patent means the US legal system generates a huge profit in court. So the whole fiasco is a clear and gross manipulation and a major demostration of greed and corruption in action.

Re:1 Click (1)

Maxhrk (680390) | more than 7 years ago | (#18133302)

then let hope thst superme court decided that software patent is not valid, that would have effect on amazon's patent. BOOM! no more stupid software patents. :)

Re:1 Click (1)

C0C0C0 (688434) | more than 7 years ago | (#18133654)

You know, I hate lame patent grabs as much as the next guy, but I'm wondering if this shouldn't really be considered a case of "Don't hate the playa, hate the game". As long as the rules are set as they are, I think the options available to any business is to grab or be sued. If Amazon hadn't done this, who's to say that it wouldn't have been B&N or Buy.com who did? These people have stock holders to answer to. The high moral ground is nice, it's even important, but business is war with agreed upon rules. This is according to the rules.

Re:1 Click (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18134554)

a case of "Don't hate the player, hate the game".

Except that the rules of this game are written at the behest of lobbying companies hired by the players.

Re:1 Click (0, Offtopic)

Jekler (626699) | more than 7 years ago | (#18134014)

"Is it really that hard to understand?"

Patronizing rhetoric does not often persuade people to join your cause.

Re:1 Click (1, Flamebait)

bangzilla (534214) | more than 7 years ago | (#18134134)

Then let me make it clear to you; Amazon invented this capability. The reason you say it is "obvious" is that Amazon has made it so by their wide and successful use of it. You may not like the patent process -- but I'm sure if you invented something you'd be the first person to scream about potecting your invention. If you *don't* believe Amazon invented this, please provide evidence of prior art. And spouting off about cookies is not prior art -- you have to actually show how this was being used in the same way, for eCommerce etc etc. Good luck!

Re:1 Click (4, Insightful)

nagora (177841) | more than 7 years ago | (#18134424)

Then let me make it clear to you; Amazon invented this capability.

No they didn't. Cookies were introduced to identify returning users by a unique code. The fact that Amazon made that code synonymous with a credit card number is a minor detail.

The reason you say it is "obvious" is that Amazon has made it so by their wide and successful use of it.

No, it's because it was obvious. It was obvious then and it's obvious now for the simple reason that it was a trivial and obvious use of someone else's idea.

And spouting off about cookies is not prior art -- you have to actually show how this was being used in the same way

Cookies are the invention, you moron. Identifying customers is what cookies were invented for. I don't have to find prior art because this is the SAME art.

Re:1 Click (2, Interesting)

Jekler (626699) | more than 7 years ago | (#18135306)

If I invented something I would not be the first person to scream about protecting my invention. I don't believe in patents, I don't think ideas should be property. Many countries function well without giving people the right to stake their claim on aspects of the human thought process.

Any software I develop will be free software. I don't believe I was the first person to think of anything, and I don't deserve compensation for the ideas I come up with. I think making money by shouting "I thought of it first!" is dishonest, because there is no way to be certain, of the 6 billion people on the planet, who exactly thought of something first.

Laws governing "Intellectual Property" are broken. People don't file patents because their idea is valuable. They file patents because their idea is a trivial improvement on a similar idea and financially worthless unless given the exclusive right to use it. In order for an idea to be financially valuable on its own, it would have to be so revolutionary you wouldn't need a patent because no one would be able to understand it and copy it anyway. For example, if you were to plop down a food replicator at a tech convention, you wouldn't need a patent because no one in the whole place could even imagine the physics required to build one of those. Instead, patents are the legal of equivalent of "Infinity + 1".

Generally, 1-Click is just a concrete implementation on the concept of using stored data to perform an operation. How is saving the customer's CCN any different than saving any other piece of data? I've had companies keep my CCN on record before the internet was even around.

Patents are supported by average people because they're spoon-fed a number of myths. The urban legend about the guy who invented something but didn't get a patent so his boss/friend/wife/neighbor got rich from it. Second, patent supporters want people to believe that the good life, full of riches, women, and fast cars is only a patent away.

Re:I have yet to make a single purchase from Amazo (2, Insightful)

symbolic (11752) | more than 7 years ago | (#18134270)


I haven't yet made single purchase from Amazon, and that's apparently the way that Mr. Bezos wants it. No skin off my back. I prefer to reward my business to vendors who aren't so caught up in their own, unique little perception of a completely stupid patent. Go for it, Jeff. I hope "one-click" serves you well, but I sure as hell won't be part of it.

The blind leading the blind (2, Informative)

Mydron (456525) | more than 7 years ago | (#18134288)

Obvious is difficult to define. Sure, it's obvious now in 2007 a whole 12 years after cookie functionality was added to Netscape. But was it obvious in 1997? Maybe. Maybe not. Obviousness is such a slippery slope that it's pointless to even argue about -- in court this argument boils down to a personality contest between attorneys and expert witnesses. No one wants to win or loose on those odds.

If 1-click isn't Amazon's idea, then produce some proof that it isn't. This is the sure fire way to invalidate the patent and the basis on which patent applications are vetted in the patent office. It helps to know how to do this. Start with the claims and work from there. Unless there is some funny terminology you shouldn't even have to read the rest of the application -- for novelty only the claims matter. As an example of what not to do bountyquest provides a good illustration:

US Patent #4734858 "Data terminal and system for placing orders," filed March 29, 1988. This excellent submission, dating back to the late 80s, describes the use of a remote data terminal to place orders. It was a highly relevant patent that was not cited in the original 1-Click application but probably should have been. It's a good example of how electronic shopping systems can be connected via a dial-up connection to legacy computer systems without using the Web. It also describes a simplified ordering system not dissimilar to 1-Click, as it states: "Transmission of orders is manually initiated by actuation of a function key at any time after an order is stored in the send memory." Sounds a whole lot like 1-Click shopping, doesn't it? Unfortunately it doesn't say anything about the use of HTML, the Web, and such, so it wasn't a winner. But kudos to the submitter for coming very close to the target!
The author(s) of the article dismisses this art, but failed to read Amazon's claim. Nowhere in Amazon's first claim does it mention anything about HTML or the Web. I haven't looked at the patent the author cites, but if this is really the only deficiency then it is no deficiency at all.

Bountyquest has dismissed other art for similarly specious reasons such as "[reference] isn't web specific". Well neither is Amazon's claim -- only that there be a client and a server - but these terms can be read very broadly: there are lots of client-server systems that pre-date the web. Similarly "[reference] doesn't include 1-click" is no reason to dismiss art because Amazon's claim only requires "a single action being performed". If you find art that includes a single action being performed, then Amazon is going to have difficulty narrowing the claim by specifying that the action is a mouse click because mouse clicking was a well known method of producing single actions.

Bountyquest makes yet another ridiculous assertion when it says: "However, the [reference] is not a winner, because we don't have evidence that someone . . . implemented [reference] . . . before our Prior To date. " There is absolutely no requirement that prior art must be implemented -- only a person skilled in the art would be ABLE to implement it from the description.

If bountyquest (or anyone else) is serious about digging up prior art they should educate themselves on rudimentary patent prosecution.

Re:The blind leading the blind (2, Insightful)

nagora (177841) | more than 7 years ago | (#18134360)

Obvious is difficult to define. Sure, it's obvious now in 2007 a whole 12 years after cookie functionality was added to Netscape. But was it obvious in 1997?

Yes. Blatantly obvious. They took cookies and used them for the purpose they were designed for. It's like patenting travelling in cars and claiming that the invention of the car itself was a separate issue.

The Claim, and some commentary... (1)

Patent-Monkey (1036772) | more than 7 years ago | (#18135262)

Amazon's patent US 5690411 [patentmonkey.com] Claim 1 reads (as a refresher)...

1. A method of placing an order for an item comprising: under control of a client system, displaying information identifying the item; and
in response to only a single action being performed, sending a request to order the item along with an identifier of a purchaser of the item to a server system;
under control of a single-action ordering component of the server system, receiving the request;
retrieving additional information previously stored for the purchaser identified by the identifier in the received request; and
generating an order to purchase the requested item for the purchaser identified by the identifier in the received request using the retrieved additional information; and
fulfilling the generated order to complete purchase of the item whereby the item is ordered without using a shopping cart ordering model.
When reviewing AOL's patent history [patentmonkey.com] , here's an interesting example on shopping from their background filed a couple months earlier than the 1-Click, US Patent 5826242 [patentmonkey.com] shows:

1. A method of on-line shopping by a customer using a browser running on a client computer, said method comprising the steps of:
sending a first request by said browser to a merchant server for a first HTML document describing a product;
displaying said HTML document on said client computer, said displayed HTML document describing said product;
selecting, by said customer, said product;
sending a second request by said browser to said merchant server in response to said selection made by said customer;
sending a state object from said merchant server to said browser, said state object identifying said product; and
storing said state object on said client computer by said browser.
While I can try to understand the contestant winners mentioned by BountyQuest, I'd think something like AOL's patent hit a bit closer to home. Now, in reading a bit, the AOL is narrowed as the description notes "When the customer wants to purchase the products in the virtual shopping basket, the browser sends the corresponding state information to a specified check-out Web page for processing." But in another described embodiment, a broader description is discussed:

"Thereafter, this information is included in the state information which is exchanged between the client and the server in the process of the invention. Accordingly, when the user, during the browsing process, desires to view another publication (e.g., from the same or different publisher) this state information will be transmitted back to the Web server to provide the necessary subscription information (thereby entitling the user to view the publication) without requiring the user to re-enter the necessary subscription information. In this manner, a user may browse from publication to publication on the Web server or a different Web server in the domain without having to re-enter, when seeking a new publication, the necessary subscription information."
Could the idea that you are clicking on a publication's website for premium content, like the New York Times, with a login cookie be considered prior art for 1-click? Worth reviewing.

Re:The Claim, and some commentary... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18136004)

Online share trading systems use exactly this technique for completing orders.
They have done so since the late 90's.
They store some cryptographicly strong data in a cookie
when the user clicks buy/sell.
That cookie is used to identify them, authenticate the request
bind the stock/amount to the ID and identify the user's bank account for withdrawal or deposit of funds.

1-click my ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18133190)

I have to perform umpteen clicks to purchase an item from Amazon (which is quite rare now as there is a wide choice of merchants online with better prices :) - Play.com for one :)

Anyway, time to boycott the big brands (do you pay that Gillette tax? I dont :)

Thanks God (5, Funny)

the100rabh (947158) | more than 7 years ago | (#18133206)

Thank God they are not patenting online shopping. List of things they can also patent
1) One click see all specification(Rather make it Zero click also)
2) Hover and buy
3) Pay by credit card
4) Get it delivered at home

Why is US Government blind all these malpractices.

Re:Thanks God (2, Funny)

mgiuca (1040724) | more than 7 years ago | (#18133290)

5) "Method for presenting clickable text which navigates a web browser to a new URL"
6) "Method for requesting a document resource on a remote server"
7) "Method to allow a consumer to designate desire to purchase products remotely"

Re:Thanks God (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18133850)

zero click.. I have an idea:

1. user opens webpage of online shop
2. server find out to which address the IP belongs.
3. online shops uses holes in IE to get the users' credit card number
4. online shop sends all products to the address and charges the users' credit card
5. days later user receives products and sends those back which he doesn't need
6. ???
7. online shop profits

voila.. zero click for the best customer experience!

Re:Thanks God (1)

bangzilla (534214) | more than 7 years ago | (#18134228)

Nope. Amazon cannot patent the things you list as they are ither already covered by patents or are unpatentable. You know that - why list them?? "Why is US Government blind all these malpractices" What malpractices? Evidence please. Proof please. Otherwise you're just spouting whining rhetoric. US Govt. is *your* elected body. Think they are blind to something? Then vote someone in that you believe will support your case. Lobby your representatives for changes to laws governing patents. Change comes from a mandate from the masses (not from some farsical aquatic ceremony).

Re:Thanks God (1)

ady1 (873490) | more than 7 years ago | (#18136854)

Actually you can patent things which are already patented. The way patents are designed is that they are complimentary. You can still patent a specific implementation of an already patented "invention".

Prior to computers proofs? (1)

charlieman (972526) | more than 7 years ago | (#18133220)

I mean, pressing a button to make something happen. Doesn't that exists since forever?.

Which is TFA? (5, Funny)

mgiuca (1040724) | more than 7 years ago | (#18133320)

Which of the 6 links is TFA?

*mindblown*

Re:Which is TFA? (1)

Bob54321 (911744) | more than 7 years ago | (#18133436)

Good question but there is one advantage to having so many links. The story has been on the front page for a while now and none of the links are slashdotted... I still didn't read them though so I can't help with you original problem.

Re:Which is TFA? (1)

realitybath1 (837263) | more than 7 years ago | (#18133658)

5 of the links are litigation insurance.

Who cares? (4, Funny)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 7 years ago | (#18133822)

Why does it matter? You weren't planning on reading it, were you?

Re:Which is TFA? (1)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 7 years ago | (#18134082)

Which of the 6 links is TFA?

*mindblown*Submitter was trying to steer well clear of any conceivable infringement of the one-click patent.

This shows the stupidity of giving up prior art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18133328)

This shows perfectly the stupidity of giving away your prior art information before an actual court case is open. Many F/OSS people have been tricked and even sites such as Groklaw have been pushing people to bring up prior art. Don't do this. The patent office is deliberately motivated to support patents (that's where they get their money). If the prior art is discovered during an actual court case, then it has a much better chance of damaging the patent seriously. It also increases the costs and fears of those who hold patents.

Even better, you can choose when to make an effort. E.g. if Microsoft, who support software patents, is sued, don't bother to check your records. If, on the other hand, Microsoft sues RedHat, then you can make a special effort to find prior art. This helps ensure that patent supporters suffer more from the patent system.

Don't give away information except to your friends. The patent office is NOT your friend.

Re:This shows the stupidity of giving up prior art (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18133856)

Forewarned is forearmed.

Let it happen, really :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18133338)

Let the patent system destroy itself, let America destroy it's so called lead on the world :)

Seriously, let all the companies patent everything for all I care, they will spend all their days in the courtroom rather than being productive and creative. It's their money and their time.

Once it has destroyed itself then we will be really free.

Software patents "at lawyerpoint" and under fire (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18133462)

As pointed out by Professor Jeremy Phillips [blogspot.com] , on the unfortunate occasion of political maneuvering to bring the marvels of software patents and business method patents to Europe as well, this article [grosche.com] in Oxford University Press's International Journal of Law and Information Technology does a great job of debunking the whole approach - while citing and synthesizing the views of IT&IP luminaries through the past few decades or even centuries. Hopefully, so will the U.S. Supreme Court, finally, at least if Justice Breyer's remarks in Microsoft v. AT&T [zdnet.co.uk] (transcript [supremecourtus.gov] ) are any indication:

We're operating under the assumption that software is patentable... but we've never held that in this court, ever.

What is the big deal? (2, Insightful)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 7 years ago | (#18133520)

I have to admit I don't really get this one. I don't get Amazon's insistance on defending this patent, and I don't get the venom spewed towards Amazon by /.ites regarding this patent. While I haven't done an exhaustive study, I don't detect any perceivable difference click-count-wise shopping at Amazon versus any other site. I click around tens or hundreds of times finding the item I want before deciding to buy. "1-click" certainly doesn't factor into where I will buy - my decision is based purely on price (including shipping and "handling") and availability. In my view Amazon is wasting a ton of money and time defending their patent(s). As regards /.ites, save the venom for something that matters. If Amazon wants to defend their silly patent, who cares? It simply has no effect on us at all (except for perhaps inflating Amazon's prices to cover their legal fees, which will only tend to make us shop elsewhere).

Re:What is the big deal? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18133770)

I have a patent on fucking your mom's cavernous pussy.

Your dad claimed prior art, but I fucked him in the ass as well until he retracted his claims.

Sincerely,

Zonk

Re:What is the big deal? (2, Interesting)

3seas (184403) | more than 7 years ago | (#18133778)

It's the principle of the matter. The idea of being granted a patent on something so obviously not patentable is an indication of deeper problems. It is an obvious symptom of a disease of mental retardation, and how to propagate it.

Stop the disease from spreading, don't ignore it till it bits you in the ass.

The whole thing on the idea of software patents is mentally and completely faulty.

Its all about abstraction physics, how to manipulate the abstract communication we humans have the unique ability and natural right and duty to create and use, as a matter of advancement. But software is in essence based upon that which is fundamentally recignized as not patentable.

Asbstract ideas, physical phenomenon and natural law. A forth is often claims to be that of mathmatical algorithms but that is a subset of the first primary three.

When man goes against father physics and mother nature, we falsely limits ourselves and it's only natural and physically predictable that problems will develope due to the friction against ... in this case... human ability to think in abstract terms in order to improve productivity.

Patents are written in terms and conotations that seem to support patents, but the same abstract idea can also be written in terms of that which is not patentable, not novel, etc..

The core of this ability lies in abstraction physics. The unavoidable action set, a set of actions that are "constant" in use, by not only programmers but every human capable of forming abstract thought and of course there is the influence of such that we convert to a phenomenon of physical movement and conversion.

So lest write abstracts about abstractions called patents but exposing the perfered non-patentable version that helps to expose the honesty of abstraction physics. Why Software is not patentable.

The idea of presenting prior art, prior to a lawsuit, that it may be used to strengthen a patent is an obvious example of the application of abstraction physics. As the absolute fact of the matter is, it honestly should not make a difference when the honest facts are brought forward. Unless, and only unless, dishonesty is being applied and used to make up excuses to continue a deception.

Software is not patentable, that is provable.

The real reason this hasn't come forward is because of vested interest in the lies contridiction the facts. This includes the softare industry in general and without regard for what side of the fence you claim to be on, open source or proprietary. As Programmers in general no more ant to give up the ego, status and/or pay any more than teh roman numeral accountants wanted to (resulting in the false limitation of mathmatics for some 300 years, when the hindu arabic decimal system was first developed and shown to be easier and more powerful).

Software will become as free as doing a calculation on a calculator, as nobody is charged royalities or licensing fees for using a calculator or pencil and paper to do some math. The only difference here is that the abstraction set is recognizably definable (the point of abstraction is word = definition, function name = function code, etc..and the "summing" tools are repetitive and recursive in nature (i.e. this function name = this code which is made up of function names whith their code, recursively) ... the automation of abstraction usage.

If you think programming is more complex than that, it's really not, as "automation of abstraction usage" turned in on itself applies to code generation too. Autocoding (not the medical term, but the critical aerospace industry make use of it in primitive constrained ways - of which the constraints are recognized as false, limiting and caused by supporting the limits of proprietary claims of the software used.)

Google Abstraction Physics and Abstraction_physics (with and underscore).

Someone once asked for forgiveness for man, as he knows not what he does.
And there are those who claim they don't understand the simplicity of abstraction physics...what they and every one does.... just like I'm doing here, applying it.

     

Re:What is the big deal? (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 7 years ago | (#18134446)

Your rant is hard to parse, but you seem to be equating software with fundamental laws of physics. It's not, any more than Fallingwater could theoretically be built by natural wind and erosion. Any innovative piece of software contains a substantial investment in brainpower, and it's more than "connect tab a to slot b". That investment is not only valuable, but far cheaper to copy than to create the first time.

I agree that the bar for "obvious" in patent law needs to be raised dramatically, and I will entertain arguments about whether patents generally reward or suppress innovation, but to claim that no piece of software is patentable because it would all write itself through some natural law of physics is specious at best.

Re:What is the big deal? (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 7 years ago | (#18135324)

your comment is simply another way of saying "only a fool would think nothing can have value" r:e the zero place holder and its use in the decimal system vs. teh roman numeral accountant elites defending their vested interest.

The proof is in showing that all human abstraction creations and manipulations of, can be automated.

It's amazing the double standard that is fabricated by programmers that claim no program can be created to do what programmers do, when in fact a program is a mirror of the programmers mindset. Make me wonder if programmer even have a clue...Perhaps that is why we have such persistance of faulty and bug ridden "new" software.

Failure to establish a base and code engine that can be improved over time and hold up to the creation of new abstract manipulations code.

Programmers are still playing with primitive means of coding. Out of arrogance, ego, status, money, etc...
Just as the roman numeral accountants avoided the zero place holder and the decimal system. (Note: computer today could not have been developed with roman numeral math.) Imagine what is being limited by teh current mindset.

Programming on the scale of teh science fiction of a "holodeck"??? (not the physics, just the coding at that level is considered impossible under current methods/mindsets)

Re:What is the big deal? (3, Insightful)

Kazrael (918535) | more than 7 years ago | (#18134026)

Just because they are not using it to go after anyone yet, does not mean that they won't in the future. In the end, their legal department funds, matched with this patent, can shut down any small company competitor with a threat of a patent suit. /.ites are pissed because we recognize this as a threat to innovation by the little guys.

Re:What is the big deal? (1)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 7 years ago | (#18135128)

Then, when Amazon goes after a small competitor, let the outrage begin. However, simply defending the patent which seems, at least to me, to be almost innocuous (there are always many ways around a patent), is not something about which to get all hot and bothered. There are a zillion sites out there that *seem* to be completely unaffected by this 1-click patent. I just think we should direct our outrage where it matters. Large companies get patents almost exclusively as a defensive measure ... because what usually happens is the small-fries love to go after the big guys' money piles by patenting everything under the sun, especially including the obvious stuff. It is very unusual for a large company like Amazon to go after small companies for patent infringement. It's simply not worth their time or effort. Fred's Online Hotdog Boutique is not a threat to Amazon, so if Fred violates Amazon's 1-click patent, there won't be any reprisals. Correct me if I'm wrong, but do you really think Amazon's 1-click patent has hampered innovation in the internet shopping domain? Has it even mattered, to Amazon or to anyone else? This is all too much ado about nothing if you ask me.

Re:What is the big deal? (1)

grcumb (781340) | more than 7 years ago | (#18138798)

Just because they are not using it to go after anyone yet, does not mean that they won't in the future.

Incorrect. Amazon gained notoriety for this patent when they took Barnes and Noble to court and won a decision barring their competitor from allowing one-click purchases. Barnes and Noble were then forced to implement a 'two-click' system. The entire affair was a farce, and remains a canonical example of why allowing software patents is the purest folly.

Re:What is the big deal? (2, Insightful)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 7 years ago | (#18134972)

Because Amazon was granted a patent for using a web browser and cookies the way web browsers and cookies were supposed to be used. It's like if I get a patent for "Using bleach to clean a surface," or "Using antacid tablets to get rid of heartburn." It's not just obvious, it's using existing technology in exactly the way it was intended to be used.

It's probably the best example of why the patent system in the US is fundamentally broken. That's the main reason for all the /. rage.

Re:What is the big deal? (Amazon's Lawyer Answers) (1)

theodp (442580) | more than 7 years ago | (#18135274)

From the pages of the law firm defending Amazon's 1-Click patent: 'Led...the team enforcing Amazon.com's 1-Click patent against its then-arch rival Barnesandnoble.com, establishing the competitive importance of business method patents [fenwick.com] .'

Re:What is the big deal? (Amazon's Lawyer Answers) (1)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 7 years ago | (#18135752)

Ahhh, but yours is an example of one big company going after another big company because a) the "offender" is big enough to be a threat and b) they have a pile of money that could make it worth while. Large companies like Amazon simply do not go after small companies for patent violations because it is not worth their time. So when everyone decries how the patent system squashes innovation and favors the big companies over smaller companies, I think they are wrong. Now it may well be that the patent system is broken (I happen to think it is). But by far, the companies that are most hurt by that are the large companies who are constantly forced to defend themselves (by virtue of having piles of money) from (the usually trivial or obvious) patent holders who see them as a ripe target. So mostly big companies get patents for defensive purposes. It's true that occassionally (like in your example) they use those patents against other large competitors, but more often than not they simply use their portfolio as a shield, sort of like the mutual assured destruction doctrine of the cold war era.

The relevant testimony (3, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#18133852)

The Summary is wrong
Misener (who gets called out by Berman) is not an Amazon Lobbyist

Mr. Misener = Vice President for Global Public Policy, Amazon.com
Mr. Smith = Chairman of the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property & Rep from Texas
Mr. Berman = Rep from California
Mr. Issa = Rep from California

(this seems like a good spot to start}
And, Mr. Misener, one last question for you. This goes to the 1-Click patent for which Amazon.com is becoming famous. And of course it's under review by PTO. But--I know your answer, but could not Amazon.com be accused of being a troll for patenting the 1-Click?

  Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
        Mr. MISENER. Oh, we have for about 6 years now. But it's inaccurate, and here are the reasons why. First of all, there's been a lot of complaint about whether or not it was an innovation. And truly it's not innovative only in hindsight. At the time it was a radical departure from the shopping cart model which was ubiquitous on the Web. But more to the point, we have exercised this patent only against a competitor who at the time we exercised it had publicly announced their intention to crush our business. This was not some scheme to hit up small users of 1-Click or similar technologies, it was really to get at a competitor who had not invested anything in developing this technology and had, again, avowed to crush us.

        Mr. SMITH. Okay. Thank you, Mr. Misener. And thank you all.

        Mr. Berman, do you have any additional questions? Mr. Berman is recognized.

        Mr. BERMAN. Thank you.

        Paul Barton David, one of Amazon.com's founding programmers, called the 1-Click patent an extremely obvious technology. And Tim O'Reilly, who's been involved in shaping Internet trends, describes the 1-Click patent as an attempt to----

        Mr. SMITH. Mr. Misener, we did not coordinate our questions here.

        Mr. BERMAN [continuing]. Has not gotten up to speed on the state of the art in computer science. It's been a raging controversy, and I have no idea whether it's valid or not--because I'm a lawyer. But the controversy itself was one of the issues that got at least a few of us 5 or 6 years ago thinking about some issues of reform.

  Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC

        Let's talk about in your testimony you state last year for $40 million we settle with Soverain, owner of a host of broad e-commerce patents, nearly two dozen of which were purchased for less than a million dollars. We settled for 40 million. Did you believe these patents to be invalid because they were too broad?

        Mr. MISENER.We still believe them to be invalid.

        Mr. BERMAN. Because they were too broad?

        Mr. MISENER.In part because they were too broad.

        Mr. BERMAN. Did you attempt to initiate a reexamination?

        Mr. MISENER.Yes, we did. And it was not going to be completed in time to be relevant to the case.

        Mr. BERMAN. Do you consider this company a patent troll because they purchased the patents for less than a million dollars, which presumably didn't represent the value of the patents?

        Mr. MISENER.I've shied away as defining them as a troll or not. We were----

        Mr. BERMAN. Nobody has shied away from calling you a troll over one claim.

  Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC

        Mr. MISENER.That's true. We worked, by the way, with Mr. O'Reilly; we came and met with Members of Congress 6 years ago because we agreed that there were areas to improve the patent system at the time. We got it immediately. And I will say that there was a large bounty put on 1-Click, I think it was about 2001, 2002, and there was essentially this contest with a large reward to find prior art, and none was found. This has been one of the best known patents around for the past 6 years and still no prior art has surfaced. So I think that goes to whether or not this particular patent was novel.

        Mr. BERMAN. Although isn't it fair at this point to note that the Patent Office, within the last month, has granted a reexamination and request based on substantial new questions of patentability based on a prior art reference?

        Mr. MISENER. Absolutely. And we're not surprised by it. And the only, perhaps, surprise is it took so long to get to that point, but we've looking forward to the reexamination.

        Mr. BERMAN. On the Soverain case, would you have settled if the eBay decision had come out?

        Mr. MISENER.As a hypothetical, it's hard to imagine,

        but it was a concern to us that we could see a major part of our business----

  Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
        Mr. BERMAN. Because of the automatic injunction.

        Mr. MISENER. Exactly. And again, Amazon without the shopping cart is not a particularly good business.

        Mr. BERMAN. All right. I think--well, let me just ask Mr. Fish one question in my remaining time.

        You talk about sort of the patent courts, or Mr. Issa's proposal regarding creating some patent judge specialists to try and create better expertise in the patent area among our Federal judges. Is it possible--to what extent will the problem be compounded? What if one of the pilot projects for testing this out was the Eastern District of Texas, and so that plaintiffs now--that that became a specialized court and plaintiffs ran there. Could this process aggravate the problem of forum shopping?

        Mr. FISH. Well, Mr. Berman, I actually am not here to argue with the Eastern District as a venue. It's been the case, I think----

        Mr. BERMAN. You must have a case there, huh?

        Mr. FISH. We have, I think, actually several. It's been a case, since we had a patent system, that forum shopping has happened. I mean, you can go back to the steamboat patents and look at people who are making allegations about forum shopping.

        I think that either the kind of proposal that we have floated, which is an article I patent specialist court for pretrial matters that would return the case to article III courts and maintain the jury right would work. And we find one of the great things about the patent reform debate is, you know, you have Time Warner and also the EFF telling you that there are such things as patent trolls. You have Time Warner and Nathan Myhrvold agreeing--saying that specialized patent courts might be a good idea. So it's fun that that happens.

  Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC

        In either case, though, I think, sir, either if you have Mr. Issa's proposal, which we understand to be improving the process sort of through self-selection and adoption of resources, or through taking the article I route and making it more like the Court of Federal Claims, we think it would be better because you could get a higher quality of decision up to the Federal Circuit, so the Federal Circuit could produce higher quality opinions, and as a system it should work, yes, sir.

        Mr. BERMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

        Mr. SMITH. Thank you, Mr. Berman.

Re:The relevant testimony (1)

theodp (442580) | more than 7 years ago | (#18135162)

One can be an employee and a lobbyist [opensecrets.org] . :-)

Re:The relevant testimony (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 7 years ago | (#18137810)

Misener (who gets called out by Berman) is not an Amazon Lobbyist

Mr. Misener = Vice President for Global Public Policy, Amazon.com

He is a lobbyist. "Vice President for Global Public Policy" means "lobbyist" in weaselease.

This explains a lot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18134456)

I know that Rep. Berman is giving Amazon's Paul Misener a bit of the third degree in his questions, but the following statement from him was very enlightening and discouraging at the same time.

--Has not gotten up to speed on the state of the art in computer science. It's been a raging controversy [Amazon's 1-Click patent], and I have no idea whether it's valid or not--because I'm a lawyer. But the controversy itself was one of the issues that got at least a few of us 5 or 6 years ago thinking about some issues of reform.

Something smells. (2, Funny)

Butisol (994224) | more than 7 years ago | (#18134498)

Patenting 1-Click is like realizing that the flush toilet has already been patented and then deciding to patent taking a dump.

how could they do this....i mean (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18134560)

thery see me humpin' on your mom, that's how they know that i'm white and anusuy!
can't you see that i'm white and anusy
don't you know that i'm white and anusy
tell your mom that i'm white and anusy

The One Click Patent is Irrelevant (3, Insightful)

popo (107611) | more than 7 years ago | (#18135122)

Billions of dollars trade hands in Internet commerce annually. A very small percentage of which is one-click.
Undoubtedly, the "One Click" patent is ridiculous because it fails the test of being "obvious", but the issue
is -- if "One Click" wasn't patented would it be as commonly used as many believe?

Amazon has touted the one click patent to the ire of the world, but its important to remember that most Amazon
purchases are *not made through one-click*. Why does Amazon fight so hard to keep "One Click", then?

The answer is two words: "Stock Price". Remember that Amazon went for years and years as an unprofitable company
with a lot of expectation of future profit. Throughout those years they touted their ultra-efficient infrastructure
and their patented IP (including "One Click") as justifications for their high P/E ratio.

The battle for "One Click" is less of a battle for vital, core-business IP and more of a battle for the public
perception that Amazon has a "secret sauce".

Let 'em keep it if they want it. IMHO "One Click" is as much a 'security nightmare waiting to happen' as it is a
revenue booster. I see it as Amazon's Active-X. But even if it never turns into a security risk, its tough to
claim that Amazon's deathgrip on "One Click" is stifling internet commerce, which grows by leaps and bounds
annually.

RE: One Click (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18135918)

Back in the old days, you would go into a general store and buy things with one click. It would require the store owner writing your purchases down in his general ledger. He knew you and you were good for repayment. Business practices used to be simple, one click just mimics that. I am not making my observation from a patent law standpoint.

Bezos + O'Reilly = (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 7 years ago | (#18135962)

"1-click 2.0" naturally.

worse than that (1)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#18137298)

O'Reilly and others suggest that patent holders might use knowledge of prior art to (I'm paraphrasing) "adjust their claims" or "pursue a bogus patent less agressively" or "using failure to find prior art as support of the novelty of an idea".

But all of those don't get at the more serious problem with giving patent trolls like Amazon prior art information: merely listing a reference to prior art on a patent immunizes the patent from prior art claims based on that reference. The presumption is that if the prior art has been listed and the patent got approved, it must be because the examiner checked the reference and found it not to invalidate any of the claims. The presumption is totally wrong, of course, but that doesn't change the legal reality of it.

When someone applies for a bad patent, or has been granted one, do not send them or any public forum legally-relevant prior art information: you are not going to convince them to give up the patent that just cost them tens of thousands of dollars to obtain and that they stand to gain millions from. Instead, patent trolls like Amazon are just going to use any specific information you give them to strengthen their patent.

If you want to complain to them, tell them generically that you believe that there is plenty of prior art for their patent and tell them that you're going to hit them where it hurts: you're not going to buy from them anymore. If you want to give the prior art info to someone, give it to the people being sued.

More prior art (1)

cbybear (256161) | more than 7 years ago | (#18138594)

In 1996-97, I worked on a website called 1virtualplace.com for First Virtual Holdings, makers of the infamous VirtualPIN. A VirtualPIN was a unique identifier that a customer could use to buy something. Enter your VirtualPIN and click buy. One click to buy something. Of course you had to reply to an email to complete the purchase, but this is all about clicking buttons on a website (though, I must admit, I have not read through the patent).

The VirtualPIN made it possible to buy things with one click. We even worked on Java-based banner ads that could accept VirtualPINs to buy what the banner ad was advertising.

Because of all this crap Amazon is doing, I've quit buying from them. Just like with the RIAA, I won't give my money to people who only want to abuse the system every chance they get.

Prior Art: VENDING MACHINES (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18142704)

One 'Click' - and I got a gumball.

One Click and I get a candy bar - single button push,
ditto for a Bottle of Coke.

@>>>>> Forget Amazon, it is bull.

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