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Canadian Federal Court Rules that Business Methods Can Constitute Patentable Subject Matter

October 14, 2010 – In a recent ruling, a Canadian Federal Court has changed the way business method patents are viewed in Canada. The Court, in overturning a decision by the Commissioner of Patents, ruled that Amazon's “one-click” patent application (CA 2246933), related to making online purchases with a single mouse click, is directed to patentable subject-matter. The Commissioner had argued that business methods were traditionally excluded from patentability in Canada.

In the ruling, the Court noted that "There is no exclusion for "business methods" which are otherwise patentable, nor is there a "technological test" in Canada." The Court further noted that the Amazon's application was not "simply a scheme, plan or disembodied idea" but, rather, was a "practical application of the one-click concept put into action through the use of cookies, computers, the internet and the customer's own action."

Although the Court ruled in favor of Amazon, Amazon is still more than one click away from an issued patent. Rather than ordering the Commissioner to issue a patent, the Court remanded the application, now in its 12th of pendency, to the Commissioner for re-examination.

Jonathan Grad is an intellectual property lawyer and partner at the Eden Prairie law firm of Vidas, Arrett & Steinkraus, PA.

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