An effort is building to involve IT industry organisations in mounting a challenge to the Amazon one-click patent.
But time is running out in which to do so -- a challenge must be filed by Saturday to come within the three-month period allowed for objection following the filing of the patent application in New Zealand in May (see Amazon's patent pending).
The campaign is being co-ordinated by consultant and former New Zealand Computer Society president Ian Mitchell, with IT specialist lawyer Clive Elliott providing the main legal brainpower.
There are clearly risks in the exercise, Mitchell says, with a possibility that a finding in favour of Amazon will result in costs being awarded against the local defendants.
"Clive Elliott and I are examining the patent document to decide how to proceed," he said yesterday. There are two ways to go: through the courts or through the patent office. He says it seems the court route carries a greater chance of success, since it requires a more stringent standard of proof that the one-click concept is a genuine invention.
“We’ve expressed interest in [assisting with the defence]” says InternetNZ deputy president David Farrar. “We’re trying to find out first if there is any New Zealand business affected.” The society wants to be careful of starting an active role in this as well as the DE Technologies e-commerce patent, he says, especially if action on the former would be purely on a general basis without a specific local innovation to protect.
The question will be raised in an InternetNZ Council meeting on Friday and Saturday.
“We have been canvassed for our support,” says ITANZ head Jim O’Neill. “ITANZ would be keen to support the effort, but we’re not sure we have the specific skills [to be of material assistance].”
ITANZ wants to look at the background papers on the proposal first, O’Neill says. “Assuming these stack up, there is no reason not to lend our weight [to the defence] in any way we can.”
TUANZ head Ernie Newman also confirms that organisation's willingness to participate in the defence effort.