Amazon’s ‘one-click’ shopping monopoly ends


23 Nov 2007

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The ‘one-click’ shopping method claimed in a patent over ten years ago by online retailer Amazon.com will soon be overturned, as amendments are made to some of the definitions of its distinctive digital transaction system.

In October, the US Patent and Trademark Office rejected 21 out of Amazon’s 26 claims on its ‘one-click’ patent as a direct result of the efforts of New Zealander Peter Calveley.

While Amazon’s Shopping Cart patent remains intact, it is the notion of owning a ‘one-click’ or express method of online purchasing that was rejected, due to Calveley’s claims of prior art.

The beginnings of the ‘one-click’ controversy can be traced back to when the company filed a law suit against US book seller Barnes and Noble in 1999 for its “Express Lane” shopping system which Amazon claimed infringed on its ‘one-click’ patent.

However, prior to Amazon filing for this patent, a number of companies including DigiCash and Cyber Cash had been using this kind of system, but never thought to patent it anymore than Tim Berners-Lee thought to patent the internet, according to publisher Tim O’Reilly.

Calveley believes now that there is no monopoly on this form of ‘express’ buying that new, innovative ways of shopping online are now free to be developed.

On his blog, Calveley said: “I believe that the shopping cart model is an old technology that needs to be put to bed.

“If these amendments are made, they will free people to use pre-Amazon methods of “one-click shopping” such as DigiCash-type systems and allow people to implement new and exciting ways of shopping with one click, perhaps using new technologies that didn’t exist in 1997.

By Marie Boran

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