The Federal Court of Appeal has released its decision in Canada (AG) v. Amazon.com, Inc. (Court Docket No. A-435-10), a case which is being closely watched because of its potential implications for the patentability of business methods. The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal in part, directing that the Commissioner of Patents resume the examination of Amazon.com’s patent application in accordance with the Court’s reasons.
Four Things to Know about This Decision:
- Since the Court of Appeal has directed the Commissioner to revisit Amazon.com’s application, whether or not the subject matter of this application is patent-eligible remains to be seen.
- The doctrine of purposive construction remains a central tenet of Canadian patent law. Any assessment of subject matter patentability must be grounded in a purposive construction of the patent claims, and not a “form and substance” approach to interpretation.
- The Court rejected the requirement that patent-eligible subject matter must be technological in nature. However, it is indeed a requirement that patentable subject matter must be something with physical existence, or something that manifests a discernible effect or change.
- The Court found that there was no blanket exclusion on the patenting of business methods in the Canadian case law. Indeed, the Court may be suggesting that the claims at issue are patent eligible if a purposive construction of the claims indicates that the “new one-click method of completing an online purchase is not the whole invention but only one of a number of essential elements in a novel combination.”