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Ebay patent infringement(5 posts)

Ebay patent infringementfiltersweep
May 28, 2003 5:06 PM
Despite my rather liberal leanings, I find it ridiculous that ebay has a 300+ million dollar judgment against them for patent infringement, even though the patent (ridiculous as it is) was awarded after ebay was up and running. By a JURY nonetheless!

Check this out:

Might as well start trying to patent everything (like the guy at - a very tongue in check website where they joke that :-( is their registered trademark).

If an idea exists in the "real world," I just don't understand why anyone should have the right to patent a "virtual" equivalent of it. Equally vexing is receiving a patent for something like "one-click shopping" (
re: Ebay patent infringementpurplepaul
May 28, 2003 6:26 PM
Just because it was awarded after Ebay was operational doesn't mean that it wasn't filed before. That's what counts. Also, a method is eminently patentable so I don't see what the problem is with "One-click shopping."

It's so easy for competitors to avoid patent infringement that I suspect that Ebay was simply following common business practices and expected, like many other companies, to get away with it.

Of course, it could just be another case of picking the deep pockets. But, contrary to the few sensationalized news articles, that doesn't happen egregiously very often.
Don't see the problem?filtersweep
May 29, 2003 3:45 AM
What if someone at the infancy of the internet patented web page buttons, like the one that says "post my message" below. HTML was originally designed to be a way to link text, and as technology progressed it could display graphics, but to use a graphic as a way to link to text? It is absurd.

An secure auction site? I don't see how that is any more patentable than patenting the very concept of an auction itself. Then you add the seller selling at a fixed price (buy it now) and you are back to the heady concept of a RETAIL STORE.

Finally, there are countless other auction sites out there as well- a bunch of small fish to be sure, but obviously ebay itself had conered the market from a patent perspective.

You don't see the problem with one click shopping? Might as well patent two-click shopping, three clicks, four clicks, a hundred clicks to strangle out ALL shopping unless someone is paying you to license a patent. Granted I am GROSSLY oversimplifying and exaggerating the issue, but the principle remains. These are not patents that have millions of dollars in R&D tied up in them, and even the damage amounts are suspect. Everyone else BUT ebay is losing money these days. Odds are Mr. Woolston should be thankful ;)
Don't see the problem?purplepaul
May 29, 2003 3:11 PM
The guy who came up with the idea and practice of hyper-linking text could certainly have patented it, but chose not to. If he had, we'd all be paying him royalties everytime we click a link. While that may disturb you, I see it as the rightful compensation for creating something useful.

The idea of an auction site is not patentable. The way it is carried out is. If Mr. Woolston developed something that made it easier for people to spend money, should he not be compensated for that when companies use it?

I can assure you two click shopping is patented in one way or another. But just because it is patented doesn't mean that shopping is being strangled. Licensing fees would have to be reasonable enough so that potential customers don't find an alternative. Certainly two click shopping would be a cheaper license than one click. So there's only so much the patent holder could charge. Unless, of course, they are paid nothing and decide to sue for damages. Then, the skies the limit.

I don't know the specifics of Mr. Woolston's claim (I've never been very good at parsing the language of patents), so it's possible that the PTO, judge and jury all erred in their decisions. But it doesn't seem very likely.
Hmm, I thought I heard 35 mil....rwbadley
May 28, 2003 7:23 PM
I currently have a patent pending. Last night I was meeting with some people about the possibility of licensing this patent to a corporation formed to sell this product.

They are generally excited about it, but the possibility of infingement (by others) came up. My comment was that 'generally, if a large company takes the idea and makes some money with it, so much the better, as a jury will usually side with David rather than Goliath, especially with the paper trail I have on this product'

Protection of intellectual property is a nebulous idea in some respects. I find the more I learn about it the less I know... and at this point I know just enough to realize that I know nothing. ;-)