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TECHNOLOGY | TECH BRIEFS

'One-Click' Injunction Lifted

February 15, 2001|Michael Hiltzik

Amazon.com lost a round in its legal battle to protect its "one-click" patent. A federal appeals court in Washington lifted an injunction barring Barnesandnoble.com from implementing a similar system, which allows repeat customers to submit online orders with a single mouse click by storing their shipping and billing information and using it for every repeat order. Barnes & Noble declined to say whether it would now add the system to its Web site. The court hinted that Amazon's patent could eventually be ruled invalid because of evidence that similar systems had existed earlier, including a service offered by CompuServe in the mid-1990s. Critics say the case underscores a serious flaw in the patent process: The patenting of business methods such as one-click ordering is still such a recent development that the patent office often doesn't know whether a claim is genuinely novel.

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