Court holds business methods patentable in Canada

October 15, 2010

Amazon.com, Inc. v. The Attorney General of Canada, and The Commissioner of Patents   2010 FC 1011

Canada’s Federal Court has released its long awaited decision in the patentability of Amazon.com’s one-click order process.  This was an appeal from the decision of the Commissioner of Patents denying Amazon's patent for a "business method", having found that it was not patentable subject matter under s. 2 of the Patent Act.

The case concerned Amazon.com's simplified "one-step" ordering method and system which uses stored information and "cookies" to enable customers to order items over the internet simply by "clicking on them".   The Court found that the system claims clearly disclose a machine which is used to implement Amazon.com's one-click ordering system and a machine is patentable under s. 2 of the Patent Act.   The Court also found the method, when viewed as a whole, to be patentable as an "art" and a "process" because:


[The method is] not simply a scheme, plan or disembodied idea; it is a practical application of the one-click concept, put into action through the use of cookies, computers, the internet and the customer's own action.   Tangibility is not an issue.   The 'physical effect', transformation or change of character resides in the customer manipulating their computer and creating an order.   It matters not that the 'goods' ordered are not physically changed.

The Court concluded that there is no exclusion for "business methods" in Canada.   Business methods are to be assessed for patentability like any other method.

Edit: a more substantial analysis has been completed.  Please view it here

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