Thursday, December 13, 2007

MercExchange win another round v eBay

MercExchange has won the latest round in the long running, electronic button patent, dispute with eBay.

"A federal judge has approved a roughly $30 million judgment against eBay Inc. more than four years after a jury concluded the online auctioneer had infringed on the patent of a small Virginia company.

U.S. District Court Judge Jerome Friedman's certification, issued late Tuesday in Virginia, edges Great Falls, Va.-based MercExchange LLC a step closer to cashing in on its long-running battle against one of the Internet's powerhouses.

But eBay still hopes to avoid writing a check."

Much though we may like to sympathise with the underdog, and in this case MercExchange has apparently reduced its workforce from 40 to 3, it is frankly ludicrous that a patent for a "buy it now" electronic button on a website should have been awarded in the first place, let alone kept expensive lawyers and the full gamut of the US court system (including the US Supreme Court last year, where at the hearing Chief Justice Roberts confessed himself somewhat perplexed that something so obvious could be the subject of a patent dispute) gainfully employed for over four years.

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