by Mike Masnick
Mon, Jul 30th 2007 8:30am
Last summer, the Supreme Court made an important ruling in the eBay-MercExchange patent lawsuit, saying that just because there's patent infringement it doesn't mean that a judge should automatically issue an injunction barring the sale of a product. That was an important decision because it brought back some balance to patent lawsuits, because without that ruling, a tiny component of a product could cause an entire product to be pulled from the market. However, the Supreme Court only said that an injunction might not make sense. It never actually ruled on whether it did in that particular case. Now, the lower court has indeed ruled that no injunction is deserved and eBay can continue to use its "Buy It Now" feature that MercExchange claims a patent on. On a second patent, the court ruled that it made sense to wait for the USPTO to rule on whether or not the patent was valid before making a decision. This is basically half-a-win for eBay, though not particularly surprising. It is still too bad that the concept of "Buy It Now" was considered worthy of patent protection in the first place, but that's an entirely different debate.
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