Monday, May 15, 2006

Supreme court rule in favour of eBay

The Supreme Court have ruled in favour of eBay in their patent dispute with MercExchange setting aside (12 page pdf) an Appeal Court injunction.

"The high court unanimously reversed an appeals court ruling in favor of MercExchange, a developer of e-commerce technology that sued eBay for patent infringement, saying an appeals court had failed to apply the proper legal test in deciding whether MercExchange should be granted an injunction barring eBay from using its technology.

However, the justices also rejected a crucial argument advanced by eBay, and embraced by a U.S. District Court that handled the case, that companies lose some of their right to an injunction if they have agreed to license out their technology or are not using it to make a product themselves."

Scotusblog has more details.

Update: Randy Picker at Chicago Law School offers his perspective. The court was split on some of the key underlying issues but "The simple version is that the Court unanimously holds, in an opinion by Justice Thomas, that the “well-established principles of equity” for granting a permanent injunction apply to disputes arising under the Patent Act. The Court won’t “lightly” imply exceptions to general equitable practice, and after wrestling briefly with a couple of sections in the Patent Act, concludes that the standard off-the-rack rules for permanent injunctions should apply to patent cases. Neither lower court did that, so reversed and remanded to the district court for a first crack at the problem."

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