March 30, 2006

eBay Patent Case Session Fallout (update) [7:28 am]

The various summaries and discussions of yesterday’s Supreme Court hearing:

  • Washington Post: High Court Considers EBay Case On Patent [pdf]

    Some patent experts said yesterday that eBay v. MercExchange, No. 05-130, is likely to spur action on Capitol Hill. A House bill introduced by Rep. Lamar S. Smith (R-Tex.) would essentially back software companies’ interests by allowing permanent injunctions only in cases in which the patent holder could prove it would suffer irreparable harm without one. But the bill is on hold, stymied largely by opposition from the pharmaceutical industry.

    “I think the biggest issue this is going to result in is a more urgent push for patent reform” among legislators, said Brian Ferguson, a patent attorney in Washington who did not represent either side in this case. “There is a concern that the patent office is overwhelmed and it isn’t doing as good a job as it could” in reviewing existing technologies or issuing patents in new technology areas, he said.

    The Bush administration, faced with a division within the business community, weighed in on MercExchange’s side. But its cautious brief urged the court to address the specific issues in the case, instead of trying to address “general policy concerns respecting potential abuse of the patent system.”

    [...] The district judge reasoned that, among other things, MercExchange was not practicing the patents and was willing to license its technologies to other companies.

    The judge also cited “growing concern over the issuance of business-method patents” as a reason that an injunction would not be in the public interest.

  • Others to be added as found….

The appellate court decision: MercExchange v eBay errata

MercExchange has a page of the district court orders.

Later: Something a little more significant? Reuters says EBay: patent office dismisses MercExchange claims [pdf]

EBay said it learned on March 27 that the Patent Office had dismissed arguments raised by MercExchange to a prior rejection of that company’s claims.

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