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eBay patent foe will not license technology

MercExchange has said it will not license the patent at the centre of a US Supreme Court hearing to eBay.

eBay has already been found to have infringed a MercExchange patent that covers the Buy it Now feature on its auction site, and MercExchange wants the Supreme Court to grant an injunction against eBay to stop it using the feature.

eBay contends that monetary compensation is enough to settle the dispute and it now wants to license the technology, after accusing MercExchange of being a “patent troll” that simply wants to cash in on relatively minor technologies.

The judges are currently considering evidence after the case started yesterday. The case is significant in light of the major spat involving Blackberry maker RIM and NTP, which saw NTP demand an injunction to stop RIM using a patented technology, which would have shut down its US network.

RIM eventually settled by paying damages and licensing the technology in question. But MercExchange said it wants its patented technology for its own operations.

eBay has won the support of the likes of Microsoft and Oracle, who are concerned that small technology components at the centre of patent disputes could take established products off the shelves, if injunctions are automatically granted by the courts.

An injunction already granted to MercExchange is on ice pending the Supreme Court ruling.


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