16 January 2013
The EPO has revoked the Amazon “Gift order” patent after holding public oral proceedings in a first-instance opposition procedure. After hearing the patentee and opponents, the Opposition Division came to the conclusion that the claimed subject-matter did not involve an inventive step and therefore the patent had to be revoked.
The European patent EP 927945 was granted to Amazon in April 2003 and subsequently opposed by Fleurop-Interflora European Business Company (CH), Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V. (DE) and the Förderverein für eine Freie Informationalle Infrastruktur e.V. (DE).
An opposition division decided to revoke the patent in 2008, but that decision was appealed by Amazon to the second instance (the EPO Boards of Appeal). In 2009, the Board of Appeal remitted the case to the first instance for further consideration, deciding that a specific aspect defined in an auxiliary request of the patentee needed further consideration. The Opposition Division decided today that this specific aspect did not involve an inventive step.
The ruling can again be appealed by Amazon.