|Amazon ‘One-Click’ Patent Lives to Fight Another Day|
Joe Seisdedos, Senior Associate, Patent Attorney
After a long and drawn out battle, a software patent that first surfaced many years ago and was the subject of much controversy appears to have survived a sustained challenge. ZD Net recently reported (http://www.zdnet.com.au/amazon-telstra-patent-battle-nears-end-339337820.htm) that the Amazon ‘one-click’ patent, which was opposed by Telstra many years ago, may finally be granted. The ‘one-click’ patent covered a web based application that allowed a user to complete the purchase of an item by simply clicking once on the item displayed on a website.
The application used a ‘cookie’, stored on a user’s Internet browser, to store information about the user. By accessing the cookie when the user clicked on an item on a website, the website could automatically identify the user, which in turn meant the user did not need to enter their personal and payment details each time they wished to purchase an item. At the time the patent was first published, many e-commerce developers and websites were concerned that the Amazon patent would seriously limit their ability to deploy a similar technology on their own websites. Challenges to the patent were mounted in many countries, with varying degrees of success. In Australia, Telstra (amongst others) challenged the patent. Ultimately, Telstra appears to have made some inroads, managing to force Amazon to limit the scope of their claims. However, it appears that the Amazon ‘one-click’ patent has withstood the challenge from Telstra. In a climate increasingly hostile to certain types of software patents (and in particular business method patents), it’s interesting that IP Australia (the Australian Patent Office) appears to have allowed this patent through to grant. We’ll keep an eye on developments.