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No, Amazon weren't the first to have one-button buy. Filed in 1994 (the year of the first WWW):

> the client computer will know which item is currently being offered for sale. In such a case, the viewer will be able to order it by Simply pressing one button on the TV remote

https://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/0a/99/bd/431ac01...

They were the first do this "with a shopping cart", and needed a patent examiner tell them how to get the patent claims approved. Genius(!)

> The Patent Owner is also advised that claims 1 and 11 would be considered to be patentable if they were amended to recite providing a shopping cart model

http://homepages.uc.edu/~armstrty/AmazonReExam-20071009.pdf

This is what is wrong with the US PTO: old inventions are patentable for new applications as long as it is novel, without consideration for inventiveness. Is it the "Guinness World Records" of invention, where you can be awarded for using a saw "in a musical ensemble".




From that first patent from 1994 that you reference;

> "It is also possible that permanent information about the viewer (i.e. the name, address, method of payment and credit card number) may be preentered once by the viewer, so it is not necessary to solicit that information each time an order is placed. The information is stored in permanent memory in the client computer. In such a case, when an order is placed, that information is retrieved from the permanent memory, appended to the item number and transmitted to the central computer."

Aha, but you see of course this isn’t at all how the Amazon 1-click system works.

The most important thing about patents is you cannot patent the overall concept. You can only patent a specific implementation, and only that specific implementation technique is covered by the patent.

Likewise, if we didn’t let people patent distinctly different implementations of the same overall concept—if Amazon’s unique implementation of a one-click online purchase was not novel or non-obvious—that would imply that this earlier patent somehow covered what Amazon was trying to do! So now you’ve made the problem exponentially worse by making patents absurdly broad, patenting the overall concept of buying an item with 1 click, versus a specific method and apparatus for achieving the functionality.

The abstract notion of making purchases through a computer as simple and take as few steps as possible is “obvious” but it’s also not patentable. But it you invent a new way to make that feature possible you can patent that.

I go back to the Apple Pay example, which is the result of massive R&D effort to find new ways to essentially make 1-click possible, but; orchestrated in a very particular way between machines at the merchant, Apple, card processor, and client in order to achieve better scale, across many merchants, with a consistent UI that is manifestly simple to access and configure, and with a heightened level of security.


> The abstract notion of making purchases through a computer as simple and take as few steps as possible is “obvious” but it’s also not patentable.

The point was that the invention of 1-click buy is patentable as applied to "a shopping cart".

> After all, what did it take B&N; to work around the 1-click patent? They had to add a second click for the user to confirm the order.

https://web.archive.org/web/20071218184903/http://www.oreill...


In a web browser, identifying the user through a session cookie, associating a session with a login, to which is attached a plurality of addresses and credit cards, of which one has been selected as a default to be used with one-click, then presenting a separate button next to the “Add to Cart” button which allows a one click purchase, which upon clicking will...

That specific implementation, in 1997, was patentable. And now anyone can freely do the same, if they went to, although we now know that isn’t really the best way to do it.




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