Nora Sleeth is a JD candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School.
Amazon’s attempts to patent its one-click technology have not been confined to Europe. The United States has already approved Amazon’s patent application and the case is currently under consideration in Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal. A summary of the June 21, 2011 Federal Court proceedings may be found here. One of the main issues is whether the one-click approach is a business method and whether, as such, it is not patentable subject matter.
Amazon’s one-click system simplifies the online shopping process by storing a client identifier, known as a cookie, in the Internet user’s computer. The user can then purchase items with a single click and be immediately recognized by the server. The one-click business model thus removes any need for the user to enter additional information. Amazon’s application to patent this system was previously rejected by EPO in 2007. The Board of Appeal’s decision supported the prior reasoning.
The Board also rejected Amazon’s attempt to patent its time interval system, which allows customers to receive a single delivery for multiple orders. It was found that this approach was only a solution to an administrative problem and, although it involved technical components, such as a computer and a timer, it was not an invention.
It will be interesting to see how the Canadian Federal Court of Appeal approaches Amazon’s proposed patent when it renders its decision.