Friday, October 19, 2007

Amazon's 1-Click Patent Claims Non-Finally Torpedoed by Blogger Peter Calveley - A Hopeless USPTO is Shamed by a Modern Knight

Via the Weekly Round-Up, we are led to the article US Patent Office decimates Amazon's 1-Click Patent, relating the story of how blogger Peter Calveley from Auckland, New Zealand has almost singlehandedly torpedoed many claims in Amazon's odious and to this observer patently obvious 1-Click patent. Based largely on Calveley's efforts, 21 of 26 claims have been "non-finally" rejected by the USPTO pursuant to the re-examination request.

See igdmlgd (his blog) and also the New Zealand Open Source Society
as well as Slashdot, Boing Boing, Alex Brie, Marginal Revolution.

This case shows the tip of the iceberg of USPTO incompetence. Why did it take a re-examination request to find all of the prior art that was not found initially? In addition, the fact that the USPTO did not reject the other 5 of 26 claims means that the USPTO still has not understood the new requirements of recent Supreme Court and Federal Circuit decisions on obviousness and the limits of patentability.

Try finding any notice or trace of this October 9, 2007 office action at the USPTO website through their search options. The search engine at the USPTO web presence is a hopeless chaos. It is really incredible that this kind of stone-age technology is being offered to the public. And it is no wonder that the USPTO can not find "prior art". Their search engine for that is going to be no better than what we see here. Hopeless.

But Calveley gives us the essential hint when he writes:

"To read the original document, go to USPTO PAIR access site, choose the "Control Number" radio button, enter 90/007,946 and press the "Submit" button."

Simple, what? In our digital age you need WRITTEN INSTRUCTIONS at a blog to find a USPTO document at the USPTO website? ARE YOU KIDDING? Just a few numbers to plug in and radio buttons to select, that's all. No one-click technology here, that's for sure. We did all that and still did not find the document. What you now have to do at the web page so opened at the USPTO is to further - non-intuitively - click the tab "Image File Wrapper" - a terminology which means nothing to almost anyone in the world except the USPTO - and THEN you will get
a page with a list of documents in this case,
the sheer number of which is evidence in itself for the red-taped document chaos which pervades the USPTO.

Somewhere in that list you will then find Reexam - Non-Final Action and when that item is clicked, you will have access to the October 9 office action of the USPTO in this case. If you do not happen to have that magic number 90/007,946 at your fingertips, the odds of finding that document at the USPTO website are limited for most and closed for many. Now that is what we call "horse and buggy search technology".

To view the contents of the actual re-examination request, go to Calveley's blog. Or try to find it in the Image File Wrapper documents at the USPTO - if you have the time for that kind searching. Try it on your own first. When all esle fails....

what you are looking for is Reexam - Affidavit/Decl/Exhibit Filed by 3rd Party.

As for Calveley, someone should award him a medal. Three cheers for you, sir. Well done!

The Economist Rankings - Business Economics Education Politics Risk Technology

The Economist has interesting rankings of various parameters in Business, Economics, Education, Politics, Risk, and Technology. Below are links to those rankings.

The Economist Rankings - Business
Global business barometer - The overall highest confidence index is in IT and technology
Business environment ranking - Denmark and Finland top the list
Private equity environment rankings - The United States and Britain top the rankings
Liveability ranking - Vancouver in Canada, Melbourne in Australia, and Vienna in Austria lead the list of the world's most liveable cities
Worldwide Cost of Living survey - Oslo and Paris are the most expensive cities

China business confidence index - Very good at 62%
Business travel ranking - Toronto and Vancouver in Canada and Perth and Adelaide in Australia top the travel list
Quality-of-life index - Ireland leads the way for quality of life

The Economist Rankings - Economics
Foreign direct investment inflows - The USA leads the list, followed by Britain, China, France, Belgium, Germany, Canada, Hong Kong, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Russia
Global house-price indices - House price fall in the USA?
Big Mac index - What does a Big Mac cost in the countries of the world and what does this say about the respective exchange rates?

The Economist Rankings - Education

Which MBA? - The Chicago and Stanford Business Schools lead the list
Executive education: open enrolment - The School of Business of the University of Wisconsin-Madison is at the top
Executive education: customised - The Penn State Smeal College of Business is Nr. 1

The Economist Rankings - Politics

Democracy index - Sweden has the most democracy
Global peace index - Norway is the most peace-loving

The Economist Rankings - Risk
Operational risk ratings - Switzerland is the least risky
Country risk ratings - Singapore and Hong Kong are the least risky

The Economist Rankings - Technology
E-readiness ranking - Denmark is first, the USA is second in E-readiness

Risk Courage Bravery and Success - The Meek Do Not Inherit the Earth - The University of Nebraska as an Example

While doing some googling of "Hand Proof - Just a Lot of Handwaving - Psychoanalysis and Socratic Education" (we posted about that here), we ran across an interesting page of quotations and other wisdom which contained the following quote:

""Most people exhibit what political scientists call "the conservatism of the peasantry." Don't lose what you've got. Don't change. Don't take a chance, because you might end up starving to death. Play it safe. Buy just as much as you need. Don't waste time.

When we think about risk, human beings and corporations realize in their heads that risks are necessary to grow, to survive. But when it comes down to keeping good people when the crunch comes, or investing money in something untried, only the brave reach deep into their pockets and play the game as it must be played."

- David Lammers, "Yakitori", Electronic Engineering Times, January 18, 1988"

Somehow, we think this applies to the situation at the University of Nebraska football team at the moment, where the conservatism of the peasantry as it were, led to the hiring of a former "Super Bowl coach" who was expected by his presumed experience - and without any risk to the hiring party, except for the payment of a huge salary - to bring the crown of victory again to Huskerland, without the normal price of uncertainty. Alas, that foolproof plan of fools failed.

If the Huskers are to return to football greatness, they will have to take the path of the brave - a path not without risk, but the only path which leads to greatness.

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