Blogger Peter Calveley petitioned the US Patent office to look at Amazon.com’s one-click patent again, and this time they rejected nearly all of its claims. That patent has always struck me as particularly egregious, but it also turned out to be tough to get rid of. It was awarded back in 1999, and a lot of people were deeply offended at the time. Here’s O’Reilly’s archive of articles about the patent.
The one-click patent was the driving force behind the creation of BountyQuest by Tim O’Reilly (and, oddly enough, Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos). BountyQuest was a site that enabled people to post bounties for prior art needed to invalidate specific patents, and Tim O’Reilly started by putting up a bounty for the one-click patent. In the end, BountyQuest died without collecting the prior art needed to invalidate, and Tim O’Reilly quit pursuing Amazon.com because they weren’t suing anyone for violating the patent.
Nonetheless, it’s nice to see the one-click patent get the treatment it deserves. The only downside is that the USPTO has eliminated one of the best symbols of the inapplicability of the patent system to software. Sadly, there are certainly hundreds more out there to take its place.