Amazon One Click Patent is alive and clicking away - the saga continues.

amazon_one_clickWhen the patent office rejected all the claims of Amazon’s One Click Patent last month, the blogosphere rejoiced. But I knew better.

As an IP attorney, I know that when the patent office rejects a claim, that is just the starting point. You start from what the Patent Office rejected, review the reasons for the rejections and come up with creative way to rewrite your claims to get around the issues raised by the examiner. In fact, in my view, if the examiner doesn’t reject your claims, then your application was deficient, because it means that your claims weren’t broad enough.

In this case, the issues were even simpler. During the re-examination procedure, the patent office reviewed a lot of references and many old systems (referred to as Prior art) to find if the Amazon’s one-click was novel or not. The patent office found that some older systems had “one click” type features, and hence the Amazon claims, as written, were invalid.

However, when the Amazon’s claims for the One Click Patent were rejected, the patent examiner specifically said that if Amazon clarified the language of the claims, and very slightly narrowed them, the claims will be allowable and the patent will be reissued. And it seems Amazon did exactly that.

Here is the relevant part of the from the examiner’s comments (10/9/07):

uspto_amazon_one_click

And in response, Amazon modified the claims to (11/15/07):

new_claim_amazon

Which essentially says that:

  • your system needs to have a shopping cart module; and

  • a one click module; and

  • if somebody pushes the one-click buy button,

  • the system has to complete the transaction

  • without the use of the shopping cart module.

Before this change, the claim was a bit fuzzy. The examiner, appropriately, left an “out” by saying that a new search will need to be performed (11/15/07).

further search amazon_patent

So the saga continues; the patent is not dead - it is alive and clicking away.

Generally at this point, the patent office will typically grant the patent (or as in this case, finalize the re-examination proceedings) but this is not a typical patent. Even though I understand the reasons why the patent office allowed this patent, I equally understand the outrage this patent has generated.

What happens next? The reexamination request will continue within the patent office and at some point the patent office may issue another office action accepting the changes and reissuing the patent with a new number (typically starting with REXXXX) or the office may find additional references that have both shopping cart and one click systems to show that the patent is not-novel or it is obvious and may reject the claims of the patent. In that case, Amazon can appeal to the Board of Patent Appeals and then to the Court of Appeals for Fed. Cir.

Can Amazon sue other website operators in the mean time? Absolutely yes. Once the patent goes through the reexamination process, it may lose some of its breadth but whatever remains is stronger and harder to attack. And of course, it is still a valid patent while it is going through this re-examination procedures.

After reviewing some of the documents, I am not as puzzled as to how this patent was granted. Even after extensive search and even a bounty of $40k+, there is nothing out there which shows a system where you can buy something with one click AND buy something using a shopping cart within the same system (the AND part is important).

Recently the Supreme Court came up with a broad definition of when an invention is “obvious” and not patentable. I expected the patent office to reject the One Click patent based on the new definition of obviousness, perhaps in the next office action!

I recently wrote about the patent auctions that raised $10M+. A couple of the patents sold of $1M+. So despite these esoteric patent office proceedings, the patents continue to have a real value, some times it comes from the underlying technology, sometimes it comes from being able to prevent your competitor from doing something, and other times the patents provide a perception of strength to others.

Happy thanksgiving. Let’s all just click away and get our Christmas shopping done.



Google is stronger than God! Will Google acquire God?

Here is the proof that the Google is better/stronger/more powerful than God and comments on Google acquiring God.

God Vs. Google:

God is omnipresent.* 1 Google is omnipresent. 1
God is omniscient.* 1 Google is omniscient. 1
God is omnipotent.* 1 Google is omnipotent. 1
God embodies
simplicity, timelessness, immutability, and impassibility.
*
.25 Google embodies simplicity, timelessness,
immutability, and impassibility.
.5
God is infinite. 1 Google is infinite. .5
God is generally considered benevolent. 1 Google is generally considered benevolent. 1
God lets you
(sometimes commands you) to kill other people in its name.
-10 You can find websites to hack using Google
and deface them, but no violence is tolerated.
1
God guides you when you don’t know what to
do.
1 Google guides you when you don’t know what
to do.
1
An intermediary, like a church, a temple, a
priest, a guru is helpful in reaching God.
0 An intermediary, like AT&T, Verizon,
Comcast, are helpful in reaching Google.
0
God made everything in
6 days and then rested.
0 Google has been working non-stop for many
years.
0.5
God creates a lot of new products in beta
and keeps them in beta for a long time.
0 Google creates a lot of products in beta and
keeps them in beta for a long time.
0
God uses Digg like voting to decide what new
functionality to add to the products (
some people call this process
evolution, but it has clearly been copied from the Digg concept. Each
offspring equals one vote.)
1 Google uses some
internal secret methods to release new products and decide what
functionality/features to add and when.
0
God has an affiliate program where you get
paid if bring more people to join (but the payment is in some dubious,
after life currency.)
0.5 You get paid in real money if you bring more
people to Google.
0.5
God is random at times. 0.5 Google is random at times. 0.5
If you ever cross him/her, God is the
prosecutor, the judge, the jury and the executioner.
-1 If you ever cross her, Google is the
prosecutor, the judge, the jury and the executioner.
-1
If you send a prayer message to God, he doesn’t
always listen to it. Most of the times your prayers
are ignored.
-1 If you send a message to Google, Google
doesn’t always listen or read your messages. Most of the time the
requests are ignored.
-1
It is hard to find
God. He doesn’t even own God.com or God.net or God.org.+
0 Easy to find Google. Try Google in any
country. Also Google.org offers even more love to its subjects by doing
philanthropic work.
0.5
If you pray to God, he
never affirmatively acknowledges your prayers.
0 Google always sends an (automated)
acknowledgment of your prayers/requests. Even though the outcome is the
same as praying to God.
0.25
God is pro-clothing.
Request for information about humans in their natural state is frowned
upon.
-0.5 Google is clothing-neutral. Google will
provide all the information you need about human activities regardless
of how much clothing is required.
0.5
God can not help you
with your computer problems.
0 Google will help you solve your computer
problems
0.5
God will not tell you
which way to turn when you are lost on the road.
0 Google will always steer you right. 1
God will not relay a
message from you to another person.
0 Google will reliably deliver a message from
you to another person.
1
God will not tell you
what your friends and enemies are doing.
0 Google will tell you a lot about your
friends and your enemies.
.5
Even though God knows,
he will never tell you who is thinking of you and who is visiting your
house.
0 Google will try to tell you who is thinking
of you and who is visiting your website.
.5
God will not find any phone numbers for you. 0 Google tries to find the

phone numbers for you
(800-Goog-411)
.25
Life without God is hell. 1 Life without Google is hell. 1

* From Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

+God.com and God.net are fan sites and God.org is owned by a cybersquatter.

Since Google is ahead in so many categories, I don’t even need to count the points. Google is stronger than God!

Some columnists have (wrongly) suggested that Google is God. There is no God at Google. (http://god.google.com leads to a server not found error.)

There are rumors that Google is in talks with high ranking officials at Vatican, Jerusalem and Mecca to possibly acquire God. In recent job posting, Google looked for candidates with extensive religious background, which could be a hint.

Since “God” has G as the first letter in its name, some have argued that Google might have already acquired God, and it is already a done deal. Analysts disagree whether Google will release an improved God (God 2.0) or an open source God (renamed as gOD).

google is god 2.0

You can also visit The Church of Google, where they believe that Google IS God and suggest taking a pledge Do You Accept Google As Your Default Search Engine?. I disagree with their conclusion and refuse to take that pledge.

Please visit next week (or subscribe to the RSS feed) for an article on Why I am scared of Google, and what am I doing about it.

Do you have additional reasons to prove/disprove the hypotheses? Does God talk to you sometime? Do you have any inside information? Pl. leave a comment.

Happy Thanksgiving, May God Google be with you!


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Motion 2 Energy - charging batteries through normal motion - gets $8M funding.

motion_2_energy_logo

Motion 2 Energy has a neat solution to the power issue for mobile devices.

Capture the normal motion of the things/people to charge the device!

The solution consists of a micro-generator combined with traditional battery storage to create a system that captures the kinetic energy of normal everyday motion—human or vehicular—to generate electricity sufficient to power mobile devices.

The M2E battery is also lighter compared to the usual alkaline battery. It eliminates the hassle of re-charging batteries, the and the burden of carrying power cords everywhere. And god knows, we can all use little exercise.

In fact, some of the prized automatic watches from 60’s did the same, captured the movement of the wrist to power the watch. This is a natural extension of the same concept.

Currently the company is focused on meeting the mobile power needs of the military. The startup’s mobile power equipment consists of a micro-generator combined with traditional battery storage. In addition to military applications, the startup also plans to sell its technology to cell phone makers who will be able to turn around self-charging cell phones.

Here is a prototype of some of the batteries.

M2E Power has received a total of $8 million in funding from a group of VC firms and select angle investors. OVP Venture Partners, Highway 12 Ventures, @Ventures, the CMGI Inc., clean technology venture unit, seem to be participating in this funding.

M2E also has filed six patents on technology and is partnering with General Dynamics.



Three best places and tools to check Google Page Rank (PR ranking)

google_page_rankA simple Page Rank (PR) number used to be a good indicator of the quality of the website. Without checking any stats, it gave you a rough idea as to the popularity, age and the quality of the site. But now, because of the nuances and quirks that Google has built in to the page ranking system, it is not an indication of anything “specific” anymore, and that is a shame! I know websites that have PR of 6 and are crap and I know websites that have a PR of 0 and are exceptional.

For the past few weeks, Google has been changing its algorithm of how it calculates PR ranking. It seems that yesterday, Google tweaked its algorithm again and punished bloggers that write sponsored posts. After all, it is against their Quality Gridlines.
page_rank

Google even has a place to submit report of the link-buying and selling and pay-per-post types of bad behavior by other websites.

To get comprehensive results for PR from multiple data centers, here are three places you might consider visiting.

Also, please be aware that it is very easy to “cheat” on PR. One can structure the webpage in such a way that the PR that is displayed comes from a page that is different from the site that you are actually visiting.

(i) Dig Page Rank. (No relationship to Digg) I like this site the most. Recently when a client wanted to purchase a website based solely on the page rank, I used this site to verify the authenticity of the page rank. Especially keep an eye on the color of the page rank display. Green means it is genuine, red is fake and orange is non-confirmed. It can check PR from 700 data centers.

page_rank_engine

(ii) SEO Company’s PageRank tool A good solid page that gives you PR from several data centers.

pr1

(iii) Oyoy.eu This is the most comprehensive site for Page Rank and other Google data center related tools. I hope I don’t regret giving this out, because I do not want this server to die, so please be gentle and don’t overuse it.

Image

And of course, you can always go to Google’s Webmaster tool site.

Happy Page Ranking!



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