The sparks are going to fly: The legal status of Amazon’s (AMZN) controversial 1-click patent, which the company filed for in 1997 and won in 1999 — and licensed to companies like Apple (AAPL) — is now in doubt.
A U.S. patent appeals court ruled on Thursday that business methods, such as Amazon.com Inc’s one-click to buy goods on the Internet, cannot be patented.
The case was closely watched by software makers, Internet companies, investment houses and other businesses.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said the patent application in question — a method for reducing the risk of sudden changes in energy costs — was not a machine and did not result in a transformation, both standards set by the U.S. Supreme Court for patentability.
Business titans split over the case: American Express (AXP) and Accenture (ACN) both filed friend-of-the-court briefs arguing business methods should be patentable, on the other side IBM (IBM), SAP (SAP), Dell (DELL), and Microsoft (MSFT) all submitted briefs they should not be. (PatentlyO has the run down.)
The dust is still settling, but consider this near-certain: This one is going all the way the Supreme Court.