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Fw: [ffii] Amazon Ordering Method Patented in Europe



Så er gaveformedling patenteret...

//Erik

FFII News -- For Immediate Release -- Please Redistribute
+++ +++ +++ +++ +++ +++ +++ +++ +++ +++ +++ +++ +++ +++

                 Amazon Ordering Method Patented in Europe
                             Munich 2003/08/18
                           For immediate Release

   The European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich has recently granted a
   patent to Amazon which covers all computerised methods of
   automatically delivering a gift to a third party. This patent is a
   descendant of the famous "Amazon One Click Patent" granted in the
   USA, but with a broader claim scope than the original US version.
   In 2001 the original Amazon Patent Application was withdrawn and
   replaced with two new applications, of which one has meanwhile been
   granted while the other is still pending. The Munich-based Foundation
   for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) found these facts during
   routine research for a documentation named "Why Amazon One-Click
   Shopping is Patentable under the Proposed EU Software Patent
   Directive". The documentation shows that the EPO has created its
   own rules to systematically grant thousands of US-style patents on
   algorithms and business methods, and that the proposed EU Software
   Patent Directive currently under discussion in the European
   Parliament would impose exactly these EPO rules on Europe's national
   courts. Yet even the FFII appeared surprised to find that the EPO
   granted Amazon a patent of this breadth.


   Backgrounds

   Laura Creighton, a software entrepreneur and venture capitalist
   living in Sweden, comments:

     [14]Arlene McCarthy and her allies have repeatedly stated that
     under the EPO doctrine which they are proposing, something like
     Amazon's One Click Patent would be "impossible" or "highly
     unlikely". I have again and again asked them: "If you sincerely
     wish that business methods be unpatentable, please show me where
     are the teeth in your law which will prevent this." They have
     however refused to explain what gives their proposal the teeth.

   FFII president Hartmut Pilch explains:

     The Amazon Gift Ordering patent was granted after years of in-depth
     examination of prior art. One might have suspected that, given the
     public outcry which Amazon has caused world-wide, the EPO might do
     its best to argue that "the disclosed method lacks a technical
     contribution in its inventive step". Ordering a gift for a friend
     is hardly new, and the main claim does not even teach a method of
     reducing the number of mouse clicks needed in doing so, but just
     broadly covers the process of fully-automated delivery of gifts.
     This illustrates nicely what we have acrimoniously documented
     [15]elsewhere: the EPO doctrine, and with it the McCarthy directive
     proposal ensure that algorithms and business methods like Amazon
     One Click Shopping indisputably become patentable inventions and
     indisputably pass the bogus requirement of "technical contribution
     in the inventive step".

Annotated Links

   -> [16]One-Click Shopping:
          Amazon (internet bookstore) received a US patent on reducing
          the need for data input in case of repeated ordering through a
          network like the WWW. Based on this patent, Amazon sought an
          injunction against a competing bookstore. Amazon had applied
          for the same patent at the EPO under EP0902381 in Sep. 1998
          under the name "Method and system for placing a purchase order
          via a communications network". By the time a search report was
          issued by the EPO, this patent had already aroused an uproar
          in the USA, leading to the discovery of new prior art,
          including similar patents which Amazon might be infringing.
          The EPO found the Amazon method patentable in principle, but
          listed new prior art in an examination report of 2001. Amazon
          decided to split the patent into two new applications. Of
          these, one, EP0927945, a method for simplified ordering of
          articles via Internet, was granted by the EPO in May 2003. The
          other is still pending.

   -> [17]Amazon Gift Ordering
          If you want to program your online shop so that it delivers
          your articles as gifts to a third person specified by the
          customer, you might want to negotiate with Amazon Inc for a
          license. This patent, which is a direct descendant of Amazon's
          One Click Patent, was granted by the European Patent Office
          (EPO) in May 2003.

   -> [18]Amazon 1Click
          Amazon's application for a patent on its One-Click Shopping
          method at the EPO. The application reached the third stage of
          examination (A3), i.e. it was recognised as referring to a
          patentable invention and a full novelty examination was
          conducted. In 2001 the patent application was split into two
          new applications, of which one was granted and one is still
          pending.

   -> [19]Why Amazon One Click Shopping is Patentable under the Proposed
          EU Directive
          According to the European Commission (CEC)'s Directive
          Proposal COM(2002)92 for "Patentability of
          Computer-Implemented Inventions" and the revised version
          approved by the European Parliament's Committee for Legal
          Affairs and the Internal Market (JURI), algorithms and
          business methods such as Amazon One Click Shopping are without
          doubt patentable subject matter. This is because

         1. Any "computer-implemented" innovation is in principle
            considered to be a patentable "invention".
         2. The additional requirement of "technical contribution in the
            inventive step" does not mean what most people think it
            means.
         3. The directive proposal explicitly aims to codify the
            practise of the European Patent Office (EPO). The EPO has
            already granted thousands of patents on algorithms and
            business methods similar to Amazon One Click Shopping.
         4. CEC and JURI have built in further loopholes so that, even
            if some provisions are amended by the European Parliament,
            unlimited patentability remains assured.

   -> [20]FFII: Software Patents in Europe
          For the last few years the European Patent Office (EPO) has,
          contrary to the letter and spirit of the existing law, granted
          more than 30000 patents on computer-implemented rules of
          organisation and calculation (programs for computers). Now
          Europe's patent movement is pressing to consolidate this
          practise by writing a new law. Europe's programmers and
          citizens are facing considerable risks. Here you find the
basic
          documentation, starting from a short overview and the latest
          news.

Media Contacts

   mail:
          media at ffii org

   phone:
          Hartmut Pilch +49-89-18979927

          More Contacts to be supplied upon request

About the FFII -- www.ffii.org

   The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) is a
   non-profit association registered in Munich, which is dedicated to
the
   spread of data processing literacy. FFII supports the development of
   public information goods based on copyright, free competition, open
   standards. More than 250 members, 300 companies and 15,000 supporters
   have entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in public policy
   questions in the area of exclusivity rights (intellectual property)
in
   the field of software.

Permanent URL of this Press Release

   http://swpat.ffii.org/news/03/amaz0818/index.en.html

References

  14. http://swpat.ffii.org/players/amccarthy/index.en.html
  15. http://swpat.ffii.org/papers/eubsa-swpat0202/tech/index.en.html
  16. http://swpat.ffii.org/patents/effects/1click/index.en.html
  17. http://swpat.ffii.org/patents/samples/ep927945/index.en.html
  18. http://swpat.ffii.org/patents/samples/ep902381/index.en.html
  19. http://swpat.ffii.org/papers/eubsa-swpat0202/tech/index.en.html
  20. http://swpat.ffii.org/index.en.html
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