Latest Chapter Of MercExchange/eBay Lawsuit: eBay Told To Pay $30 Million

from the ain't-over-yet dept

While you may recall the Supreme Court's decision in the MercExchange/eBay case from a year and a half ago, that was really just over one technical point at issue in the case: should a judge automatically issue an injunction to stop the sale of a product if that product is found to be infringing. Thankfully, the Supreme Court recognized that injunctions don't always make sense. However, once that was decided, the rest of the case still had to proceed. Based on the Supreme Court ruling, it was no surprise earlier this summer that the judge denied an injunction against eBay, but this week he did approve a $30 million judgment against the company -- representing the $25 million earlier award, plus another $5 million in interest.

The case isn't over yet, though. eBay has vowed to appeal the ruling. While the Supreme Court ruling on injunctions was an important one in preventing some of the worst abuses of the patent system, this case is still something of a travesty. MercExchange had claimed patents over all different aspects of online auctions, and while some of those patents were tossed out of the case, eBay was still found to infringe for daring to offer a "buy it now" feature on an auction. What no one has yet been able to explain is how the idea of a "buy it now" option on an auction should ever be patentable. It's simply a feature and a natural offering for any auction site to include at some point or another. It wasn't some brilliant idea that deserves a huge monopoly preventing all others from offering such a simple feature. Yet, tragically, with the way our patent system works, that's what has happened.

Filed Under: buy it now, patents
Companies: ebay, mercexchange

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  1. identicon
    Max Powers, 12 Dec 2007 @ 8:48pm

    So Stupid

    "Buy it now" printed in a little box that takes you straight to the product is the stupidest thing to patent I have ever heard of, though I'm sure there are many more.

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