Amazon.com's Canadian arm, Amazon.ca, is pushing to have a patent for its one-click purchasing technology in Canada as it has in the U.S.
And if it succeeds in its attempt, it could change the way patent law works in Canada, according to a researcher from the University of Ottawa.
Jeremy Morris argues in a paper being presented at the 2011 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Fredericton that the eventual result of Amazon.ca's case is also going to influence who controls cultural information and practices in this country.
Amazon patented one-click purchasing in America way back in 1997 but has struggled to do the same in the North. Why the difficulty? Jeremy explains that patents have traditionally been given on inventions rather than on methods—things, rather than ways of doing things. But there is a growing desire to patent business methods that change the way people interact with technology. However, Canada is resisting that trend.
The question then becomes, when will Canada buckle under the pressure?
"This is an issue that will affect how Canadian patent law works," says Jeremy. If Amazon succeeds, it will be the first patent of a business method ever awarded in Canada.
Concerns over such a victory would primarily come from entrepreneurs and small businesses, who see this control as monopolistic or oligopolist and a stifler of innovation.
"This is an ideal moment to put these processes in the spotlight," believes Jeremy. "Is it in society's interest to allow business method patents in Canada ?"