MercExchange Saga Over: eBay Just Buys The Patents
from the done-and-done dept
The case ended up getting plenty of national attention, but not for the main part of the case. Instead, one of the legal questions raised by the case -- whether or not a judge should issue an automatic injunction preventing the use of patented technology when someone is found guilty of infringing -- made it all the way to the Supreme Court, where a judge found (reasonably so) that automatic injunctions don't make sense, and courts should look at a variety of factors in determining if an injunction is necessary. This was an important finding, and it meant that the judge back at the actual case didn't force eBay to stop using its "Buy It Now" feature. However, eBay did still lose the case and was told to pay the $30 million. eBay was in the process of appealing the ruling, but by buying the patents, it's now over. While no amount is given, you'd have to guess that they paid somewhere near $30 million as the ruling required, perhaps a little less as incentive to avoid having to pay lawyers' fees during an appeal. While it still seems silly that eBay had to pay many millions of dollars for daring to let people buy a product at a set price, at least the Supreme Court did get a chance to set a precedent using a part of this case. Of course, now we need to hope that eBay doesn't turn around and sue others for violating the same questionable patents.