Home Knowledge Amazon One-Click Patent Application Refused

Amazon One-Click Patent Application Refused

July 19, 2011

The European Patent Office’s (“EPO”)Technical Board of Appeal has upheld an earlier finding of its ExaminingDivision, that Amazon’s “one-click” payment method technology is notpatentable as it is devoid of inventive step.

Amazon’s “one-click” technology allows a customer to make a purchasewith a single mouse-click, which triggers an automatic retrieval of aname, address and credit card number.  The patent application in thiscase was one of two divisional applications (a spin off applicationgenerated where the original parent application exhibited more than oneinvention) of an original parent application which had been withdrawnduring examination.  The other divisional application which was grantedprotection relates to a gift ordering method.

In its ruling, the EPO found the “one-click” payment method wasreliant on pre-existing inventions or prior art. The prior art relied onin this case was related to the use of cookies (please click herefor further reading). A cookie is a small text file stored on a websiteuser’s computer that allows website operators to gather information onthe user’s browsing activities which benefit the user by facilitatingtheir browsing experience. Cookies are widely used for identification ofa user’s session, a user’s preferences and authentication etc. The EPOheld that “In view of the indexing function of cookies, the skilledperson would have realised that any sensitive data traditionallyrequiring a login could be accessed by cookies”. Thus the divisionalpatent application lacked inventive step.

The rejection of Amazon’s “one-click” patent application will nodoubt see other online store operators seek to exploit this kind oftechnology in the future.

Contributed by Brian McElligott