Thursday, 1 April 2004

Tossing Amazon's cookies

I just heard about Amazon's new patent (No. 6,714,926) claiming a method for using browser cookies. (Via LawGeek) A quick reading of the claims puts me close to Jason's position, thinking that there must be a ton of prior art that would invalidate it. But that is not the most amazing fact. I have not studied the prosecution history, but Jason says that the inventor cited only one reference to the patent examiner that is, he told the examiner that he knew of only one publication before his priority date in February 1999 that described the use of cookies.

For those not familiar with PTO Rule 56, it requires patent applicants to disclose all sorts of juicy information to the examiner but only if they have actual knowledge of that information. I find it difficult to believe that a programmer working for Amazon would not have actual knowledge of more than one paper written about browser cookies. Anyone accused of infringing this patent would have a tailor-made inequitable conduct defense.

Posted at 10:28:39 PM | Permalink
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