eBay and MercExchange reach patent agreement

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The seven year legal battle between eBay and MercExchange has finally been settled. eBay have bought the three patents that MercExchange had accused them of violating, as well as some additional related technology.

MercExchange had argued that eBay’s Buy It Now feature infringed their patents and sued eBay in 2001. In 2003, a jury ruled in MercExchange’s favour and awarded them $35million in damages. This was reduced to $25million on appeal. After another judge refused to grant an injunction against Buy It Now, giving a damning indictment of MercExchange’s actions. The damages, increased to $30million with interest, were upheld last December.

No further terms of the settlement were revealed, but eBay have said they do not expect it to affect 2007 results or 2008 guidance issued with the Q4 earnings release last month.

3 Responses

  1. I’m wondering if Merc Exchange realised they were onto a loser and sold out cheap, or if eBay have just had enough and paid out big time to make em go away for once and for all….

    Ina has an interesting comment… she ponders whether eBay will now uphold the patents against other sites with Buy It Now buttons. Would be somewhat amusing 😆

  2. Chris,

    I think this got done because Meg is leaving. She was the main reason they fought this thing so long. They must have spent at least $30 million on legal fees.

    I also think Ina is right-on with her assessment. eBay will begin inforcing “their” patents now . Does Etsy use Buy it Now? If so, I would imagine they will soon hear from eBay’s lawyers.

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