Patent Appeal Board rules that inventions must have a physical form, says Edward Fan in Law Times

Amazon Appeals Adverse Ruling

September 21, 2009

In March 2009, the Patent Appeal Board shocked the intellectual property community with a definitive statement against the patentability of business method patents in Canada.

The pronouncement came in a lengthy decision that rejected a patent application by Amazon.com, Inc. for a "one-click" shopping system – a ruling that the company is appealing.

The case arose after a U.S. patent for the one-click feature was issued in 1998. Still, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office rejected the application in 2004. Amazon then appealed to the board.

Despite finding that the one-click innovation was both new and non-obvious, the board ruled the claims advanced were not patentable under the Patent Act because they did not define a technological advance that was either a physical object or an act performed "by some physical agent upon some physical object and producing in such object some change either of character or condition."

"The [appeal board's] reasons can be interpreted not only as holding that inventions must have a physical form, but also that the machine must be at the heart of the invention," says Edward Fan. "That would take out not just pure [business method patents], but also implemented technologies that affect business dealings."

Read the full article here.

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