Following a recent Federal Court of Appeal (FCA)
decision ordering Amazon.com's "one-click" patent
application to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) for
expedited re-examination, CIPO has now issued notice that the
application has been allowed.
Amazon's patent application, entitled "Method And
System For Placing A Purchase Order Via A Communication
Network" (Canadian Patent Application No. 2,246,933), relates
to a system and method for simplifying the online shopping process
by storing a client identifier, known as a cookie, on the Internet
user's computer. The user can subsequently purchase items with
a single mouse click while still being immediately recognized by
the server for security and payment purposes. The
"one-click" business model thus removes the need for the
user to enter such information repeatedly.
The FCA's decision accorded, for the most part, with the
Federal Court (FC)
decision on which the appeal was based. However, whereas the FC
had ordered the CIPO to expedite examination "with the
direction that the claims constitute patentable subject
matter," the FCA ordered the application back to the CIPO to
expedite examination "with a mind open to the possibility that
a novel business method may be an essential element of a valid
patent claim." Noting that the FC had construed the claim
language of Amazon's application in a literal manner, the FCA
stated that claims of a patent application must be construed in a
purposive manner when assessing whether claimed subject-matter
meets the requirements of patentability under Section 2 of the
Patent Act. And, rather than embark on its own purposive
construction, the FCA referred the task back to the CIPO.
Under the direction of the FCA, the application underwent
expedited re-examination and, with the exception of a minor
amendment to the description, was allowed without further amendment
by CIPO on December 23, 2011. Amazon shortly thereafter paid the
final fee, and the patent will soon issue.
While many expected that the FCA's decision would be
appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, the allowance of the
application precludes this possibility. With the CIPO apparently
now having acquiesced to the purposive construction requirement, it
is expected that a great deal of certainty will return to
prosecution of patent applications in the business-method and
computer arts. As a result, it is expected that the backlog of
patent applications that have been experiencing prosecution delays
because they involve such subject matter will soon be significantly
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