The Canadian Patent Appeal Board has rejected Amazon's patent application (CA 2246933 A1) for its one-click online shopping feature, according to a report in ipFrontline. The Board's decision deals a blow against so-called business methods, which it believes are not patentable subject matter under the Canadian Patent Act.
Boliven Patents is now a "professional-grade" fee-based service, according to an e-mail sent yesterday to current members of the Boliven Network. The service was launched in January as a free beta patent search engine with integrated analytical tools, search alerts and data export functions. It now includes more than 60 million patent documents from the US, Europe, Japan, Korea and others. Recently added data includes INPADOC/DOCDB data and US patent assignments.
Current members will have complimentary access for three months, after which they must pay $60 per month on a month-to-month basis. New users will be eligible for a free two-week trial period.
This isn't surprising news, given that Boliven is a private firm with a pretty obvious business plan. But I was hoping that the beta period would last longer or that part of the service would remain available to the public. This development underscores the danger of relying on third-party patent database providers to provide access to public patent information. They can disappear at any moment. Will FreePatentsOnline or Patent Lens be next?
I'm the librarian for research services in the Engineering and Science Library at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. I've been working with patent information since 1991, including seven years at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. I believe that the dissemination of patent information is a public good and should be promoted, especially in the education of science and engineering students.