According to this article, Amazon’s patent is being reviewed because it looks like the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office granted a similar one 18 months before Amazon’s filing. It will be interesting to see what fallout there would be from a decision invalidating Amazon’s patent.
That aside, this brief story does a nice job of pointing out how profoundly broken the patent system is. The prior patent wasn’t found by a USPTO employee, but an actor from New Zealand who was angry about a slow book delivery and wanted to get back at Amazon. If Amazon hadn’t made one of their customers upset, who knows if this would have ever been found. The patent review will probably revisit these requirements:
- is 1-click new
- is 1-click useful
- is 1-click nonobvious
At the time Amazon got the patent, I felt it clearly failed the nonobvious requirement. The existence of an 18-month-old patent on the same idea only confirms that.