— blending the mix

U.S. high court to hear landmark eBay patent case

U.S. high court to hear landmark eBay patent case reports on the impending US court case for eBay against small software developer [tag]MercExchange[/tag].

The item of the argument is the [tag]eBay[/tag] Buy It Now feature which MercExchange claim infringes upon patents secured by them.

However, the crux of the argument is a much bigger and more important argument about the rights of the patent-holder and infrigner.

Traditionally, patent infringers were forced to either see a total ban of the infrigned product, or settle out of court. (Research in Motion and Blackberry) but software companies are complaining that they can often be held to ransom by the patent-holders threatening an injunction.

Drug companies and other patent-holders argue that due to the high research costs in developing a new drug, patent-infringing drugs do more harm than good. The return on the original investment is weakened by the copycat drugs and therefore limits the funding available for new drugs.

What makes this case even more interesting is that MercExcange has already been awarded a small amount of damages for eBay infringement yet this decision has been reversed because the law states that patent-holders are entitled to an “automatic” injunction if the court finds in their favour!
eBay argues that monetary recompense should also be an “automatic” option where possible. The drugs companies say otherwise.

The issues over automatic injunctions is much wider than this court-case alone and will be very interesting.

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