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eBay's Day In Court: You Win One, You Lose One

July 30, 2007
A U.S. federal judge denied a request on Friday for a patent injunction against eBay, but did nothing to show it would not consider a a $25 million damage award against eBay.

Reuters reports that in the nearly six-ear old case of  the MercExchange LLC v eBay Inc. and Inc. U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia denied a motion for a permanent patent injunction against eBay.

At the same time, Judge Jerome Friedman denied eBay's request to stay proceedings on one of the two patents in the case -- governing the so-called 'Buy It Now' feature -- saying that a 2006 U.S. Supreme Court ruling raising the bar on patent infringement cases had no impact on a 2003 jury verdict that could result in eBay paying $25.5 million in damages.

"At such a late stage in the trial proceedings, the court does not favorably view further delay predicated upon an administrative process of indeterminate length," Friedman said.

The "infringement suit has already been tried by a jury and a final verdict and damage award has been affirmed by the federal circuit," the decision stated.

Reuters also noted Judge Friedman stayed further proceedings on a second ecommerce-related patent until the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has time to reexamine the validity of the patent granted to MercExchange. In effect, the court deferred to the judgment of the patent office to define the issue.

"We're pretty pleased with the decision," eBay spokeswoman Catherine England told Reuters.

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