thats what that is, go and invent something real and clever, then come back - tossers.
A payment system devised by online retail giant Amazon is too obvious to patent, the European Patent Office (EPO) has ruled. Amazon had hoped to patent the way its customers pay for products through the click of a single webpage button. The company was previously granted patent rights to the payment system in the US. An …
But here in the good ol' US of A we have problems getting our head around this one ... just One Click (TM) to purchase stuff? Nah, that will never work.
Hey Bubba, ya'll hold me beer while I click this button ....
I just bought a Barbie Doll with one click !!!! Let's shoot it.
The original RSA patent on public-key cryptography was really innovative.
Someone (Cerf? Postel?) could probably have patented route discoverability on the internet (that which is now implemented through BGP) - pre-planned routing was the obvious approach (cf NCP).
WIMP interfaces (though Xerox didn't).
At least one state secret service had been using asymmetric key algorithms that were precursors or special cases of RSA over 20 years prior to their patent-filing! Specifically, it is public information that James H. Ellis, Clifford Cocks, and Malcolm Williamson at the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in the UK in 1973 had already created these algorithms.
Software patents are just a dumb idea, period. From an origination perspective, they are too closely related to fundamental mathematical expression or are trivial extensions of existing procedures or methods. I'm not even going to mention all the other issues surrounding any IP protection overlap, utility or enforceability of software patents.
"Specifically, it is public information that..."
Well it is now, but it certainly wasn't at the time and therefore this doesn't count as prior art. (The deal with patents is disclosure in return for legal protection, so those who don't disclose can't complain that someone else was awarded the protection.)
Also, one could point to the claim that this discovery was kept secret "for over 20 years" as a clear demonstration of the non-obviousness of the inventive step. (Cryptography is a respected academic discipline, so it's not like there weren't smart people working in the same field trying to come up with ideas like this one.)
However, the fact that it was invented twice, by two groups, without knowledge of previous work, means that it was probably "obvious to one skilled in the art".
Basically, "encryption" has been about since the Ancient Greeks. The only step forward was public key cryptography using products of large primes. Prime have been around since the Ancient Greeks, and were always known to be an interminable difficult problem to solve even when it was incredibly simple (in comparison) to create such a problem.
By the same token, elliptic curve cryptography is hardly "novel" except in the use of elliptic curves to replace primes, and associated countermeasures and other things needed to take into account when using something other than primes. To call them patentable is really pushing your luck because then it takes seconds to push patents through the system claiming cryptography using just about any mathematical process that's difficult to unravel without the original "key". By the same token, quantum encryption really is a whole new way of doing things but, again, still mathematically based on knowledge that's been around for decades.
The only patents worth applying for, especially in the EU, are hardware patents - a piece of quantum-encryption kit that uses fibres to encrypt between banks would have qualified as "new" ten years ago even if the algorithm wouldn't, a use of encryption to provide (say) a certification that a card belonged to an authorised cardholder via certificate exchange, or similar - all patentable - and ALL in hardware first and most importantly.
Otherwise you get into things like the DVD CSS debacle - where people "can't" describe the algorithm even if it's just a series of mathematical steps that have been known about for centuries.
"Cryptography is a respected academic discipline, so it's not like there weren't smart people working in the same field trying to come up with ideas like this one."
Which is why it is totally unethical to have someone work on a topic, produce something useful and then tell them, "Sorry, but these other people already did this and now own the idea. You'll have to pay *them* to exploit the work *you* did."
The notion of non-obviousness is merely a way of guessing whether people are likely to be wronged or not if you award monopolies on things. It can in no way be used to justify the unethical nature of granting monopolies in the first place: if even one person has their work effectively taken from them (and especially if it involves a discipline that is "hard"), then a wrong has been committed.
I've seen and heard about it, but never experienced that '1-click' to buy 'magic' either. I guess I missed the point but it usually involves logging in etc...
Either way trying to patent it is bloody stupid. If we keep on allowing software patents we won't be able to do anything in software without infringing a patent somewhere...
<skulks off to patent gesture-to-buy>
I used to use it a lot but have never set it up on new machines.
Basically it's what it says - you click a button and the order is placed. If I remember correctly you have 90 minutes in which to modify the order. After that the item is on its way. No need to enter CC details or select the address or anything.
I think the main reason for not using it any more is that it makes the buying process too convenient. Some times the act of clicking through the confirmation pages has given me time to reflect and cancel something. On balance(*) I'd rather have that additional time/effort during which to reflect on how necessary the order really is.
(*)Credit card balance mainly :)
As with things like '3d secure' 1-click buying is surly becoming harder to do?
Although I think I'm with pretty much everyone else in the world who is happy to see such silliness struck down. Now smack them with a nice big 'administration' charge to stop them trying to file such frivolities again!
"Inventions must be new, take an inventive step that is not obvious and be useful to industry to qualify for patent protection."
US patents office please read.
And now read it again, because you obviously didn't understand it the first time.
And now read it a third time, because we really don't believe there is anybody in the US patents office that is capable of understanding it.
Now all of you, resign and lets have your replacements fully and fundamentally tested on their understanding of the above.
..........discredit the patent system even further (if that is in fact possible). They quite obviously agree with us here at El Reg are doing their bit to bring about reform by satirising the system with a patent application of transcendent idiocy. I mean, they are aren't they? It could not possibly have been a *serious* application that they thought they could get away with could it?
On a slightly more serious note I think that the "big boys" should start thinking a bit. Much more of this kind of crap and they actually will in the end provoke the kind of reform that they would sooner gnaw their own legs off than have implemented.
A sensible decision on patents in the first instance? What's going on here then?
The usual action seems to be to grant the patent and then later revoke it when somebody challenges it's validity.
The new idea's all get kicked around and reinvented years or decades before the technology exists. Then the technology gets toyed at for years before its practical to get put into a commercial product.
For instance the general public was exposed to video conferencing in the 1964 worlds fair, the idea waited in the background until the early 1990's when cheap webcam combined faster dial up speeds to make it practical for mass consumption.
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