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Amazon Gift Ordering Patent Revoked By EPO

by Ulrika Lomas, for LawAndTax-News.com, Brussels

10 December 2007


It was announced last week that the European Patent Office (EPO) has revoked a patent granted to online retailing giant, Amazon.

The so-called "Gift Order Patent" (European Patent EP 0 927 945) was revoked by the EPO in an opposition proceeding, after a hearing involving three opposing parties and Amazon.

The patent relates to a method for purchasing goods over the Internet to be sent as gifts, and was granted to Amazon on 23 April 2003.

The EPO explained on Friday that:

"This patent relates to an invention in the field of computer-implemented inventions (CII). It specifies a method by which a person can purchase a product as a gift and have it shipped based on the e-mail address of the recipient. Based on this e-mail address, the system will then contact the recipient to obtain a valid postal address for shipping. This patent is not to be confused with the “One-Click” patent application, which was withdrawn after the first EPO examination and never granted in Europe."

It continued:

"The parties who have lodged opposition against the patent – all of whom were represented at the hearing – are Fleurop Interflora Businesses and two non-government organisations in the IT field, namely the German Society of Information Sciences, and the Foundation for Free Information Infrastructure (FFII)."

One of the opposition’s main arguments against the patent – among others – was that it fell short of meeting the criteria of providing an “inventive step”, as defined in Article 56 of the European Patent Convention (EPC). On these grounds, the three opposing parties asked for the patent to be revoked.


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