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E-Bay Seeks To Appeal Patent Ruling

by Glen Shapiro, LawAndTax-News.com, New York

07 October 2004


Online auction firm e-Bay on Tuesday filed an appeal request regarding an earlier court decision which found that it had infringed on patents owned by Virginia inventor Thomas Woolston.

Ruling in Virginia last summer, Federal Judge, Jerome Friedman upheld an earlier jury decision that certain technologies employed by e-Bay infringed on patents owned by the former CIA engineer and MercExchange founder.

However he reduced the amount of damages awarded to the latter by $5.5 million to $29.5 million, and refused to grant an injunction preventing e-Bay from making further use of the technology, which allows customers to make online bids backed by credit cards.

Although Judge Friedman announced that there was 'no dispute' that infringement of Woolston's patent had taken place, and explained that there was evidence to suggest that the internet auction company had done so willfully, he revealed that there was not enough evidence to suggest that e-Bay's continued use of the technology would cause MercExchange (Woolston's company) any monetary damage, given that it has not yet managed to sell any of its e-commerce patents.

Filing the appeal request this week, e-Bay lawyer Jeffrey G. Randall argued that the jury in last year's case had received incomplete instructions regarding the date that Woolston alleges he created the technology for processing internet sales.

He also took issue with some of the aspects of the sales deals, such as transfer of legal title, covered by the MercExchange patents, arguing that they are not applicable to sales made via e-Bay.


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