One-click fun and games as Amazon flows into Europe

Once upon a time the word 'Amazon' either meant a lady with somewhat warlike habits or a river which, together with its tributaries and basin, irrigated a patch of land about 70% the size of Europe. Nowadays,a ask anyone what they associate with 'Amazon' and they will probably think initially of the vastly popular and increasingly successful online vendor of their cultural preferences and the means of enjoying them.

The online vendor has been busily trying to secure patent protection in Europe for one of its controversial 'one-click' patents, according to a news item kindly sent to the IPKat by Mark Kenrick (Marks & Clerk), on whose website it has been posted. According to this item:
"The Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) has recently heard an appeal against revocation of one of Amazon's "one-click" patents following opposition proceedings. The Board of Appeal found that the decision to revoke the patent should be set aside and that the patent should be returned to the opposition division for further consideration of an alternative set of claims.
The particular patent in issue is concerned with allowing a first individual to send a gift to a second individual when the first individual knows only the second individual's email address but not their postal address [Gifts may be sent to ...]. There was considerable surprise when this patent was originally granted by the EPO, and the patent was subsequently revoked in opposition proceedings [the EPO prefers to call the revoked patent the 'gift ordering' patent, not be confused with 'one-click']. Amazon then appealed that revocation [Now, that's not a surprise]. The Appeal Board decided that revocation of the patent as granted was correct, but that more limited claims relating to details of technical implementation of the invention should be considered further. The Appeal Board's reasoning for its decision is not yet available [An unkind Kat might have added at this point that sometimes the reasoning of a Board of Appeal remains unavailable even after the decision has been made public ...].
Mark Kenrick ... comments: "It is not surprising that the Board felt that the main claims directed to the business method were not patentable, but it seems they are at least willing to entertain that the implementation of this business method might be patentable" [i.e., as in the case of computer programs, it is the business method "as such" which is unpatentable, but just look at all those technical effects!] ...".
The IPKat tried getting more information via Google News under 'Amazon + one click' and 'Amazon + EPO', but to no avail, from which he infers that Mark may perchance know something that the rest of us don't. If this be so, you'd better chase Mark if you want any more information on this fascinating case.
One-click fun and games as Amazon flows into Europe One-click fun and games as Amazon flows into Europe Reviewed by Jeremy on Thursday, December 10, 2009 Rating: 5


  1. Mark Kenrick (Marks and Clerk)Thursday 10 December 2009 at 11:45:00 GMT

    Details of the decision (albeit without reasoning) can be found in the minutes of the oral proceedings before the Board of Appeal, which are avaialable here:

  2. Interestingly, auxiliary request 3 seems to add the "one-click"-feature.

  3. Decision T 1616/08 is now available.

    The Board remitted auxiliary request 3 to the opposition division for further prosecution for the reason that the features relating to the single-action ordering of items (i.e. one-click) do not clearly relate solely to a business concept, so that merely notorious prior art cannot be assumed to suffice to examine the invention for inventive step.


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