[ffii] FFII still challenges Amazon one-click gift order patent

Stephan Uhlmann uhlmann at ffii.org
Mon Jan 14 01:36:07 CET 2013

PRESS RELEASE -- [ Patents / Innovation / Economy ]

FFII still challenges Amazon one-click gift order patent

Munich, 14 January 2013 -- For Tuesday the European Patent Office (EPO) 
scheduled a hearing on the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure's 
(FFII) opposition to the legendary "one-click gift order" patent from online 
retailer Amazon.com Inc.

In 2004 the FFII e.V. filed an opposition to Amazon.com's "one-click gift 
order" patent grant.

FFII board member Stephan Uhlmann: "Software patents hinder innovation and our 
digital economy as whole. We took on a show case of a software patent while 
European officials told us software patents were not existant."

Three years later the EPO revoked the patent because of non-inventiveness. 
After Amazon appealed the decision in 2008, the EPO restored its validity and 
remitted the case to the first instance. Tomorrow, more than four years 
later, the EPO's opposition department will once again review the case.

Uhlmann adds: "EPO opposition procedures are out of touch with market needs. 
Patent polluters don't pay, rather they get their way. Consider that patent 
protection lasts 20 years after filing, which happened in 1998. Almost 15 
years later we get heard on a patent that should never have been granted in 
the first place. The governance of the EPO needs a deep review. The European 
Patent Convention leaves too many loop holes for software patenting."

Background information

The patent application dating from 1998 outlines a "method in a computer 
system for co-ordinating delivery of a gift from a gift giver to a recipient, 
the gift and recipient being  specified in a gift order." In 2004 the FFII 
e.V. as well as the Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V. and Fleurop-Interflora 
European Business Company AG opposed to Amazons one-click gift order patent 
granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) as EP0927945. Contrary to 
different reports the patent is still valid and in force in Europe. Due to 
the opposition by FFII et al. the patent was revoked in 2007. But Amazon 
appealed to this decision leading the EPO to set the revocation aside and now 
the case is remitted to the opposition department.

The oral proceedings will be held Tuesday 15 January 2013 9:30 a.m. at the 

  Room 1653
  Grasserstraße 2
  80335 Munich
Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, was recently quoted: "Patents are 
supposed to encourage innovation and we’re starting to be in a world where 
they might start to stifle innovation. Governments may need to look at the 
patent system and see if those laws need to be modified because I don’t think 
some of these battles are healthy for society."


* Chronology and background information

* Permanent link to this press release

Contact information

FFII Office Berlin 
Malmöer Str. 6 
D-10439 Berlin 
Fon: +49-30-41722597 
Fax (office service): +49-721-509663769
Email: office (at) ffii.org

About the FFII

The FFII is a not-for-profit association active in twenty European countries, 
dedicated to the development of information goods for the public benefit, 
based on copyright, free competition, open standards. More than 1000 members, 
3,500 companies and 100,000 supporters have entrusted the FFII to act as 
their voice in public policy questions concerning exclusion rights 
(intellectual property) in data processing.

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