February 28, 2008 - EBay Inc. has agreed to settle its historic lawsuit with MercExchange over EBay's "Buy it Now" feature. Financial terms were not disclosed, but EBay will buy three patents from MercExchange related to fixed-price sales and related technology.
The lawsuit had a significant impact on patent law because the US Supreme Court, on EBay's appeal, ruled that EBay did not have to stop using the patented technology, thereby ending the precedent of patent owners automatically having the right to block the use of infringing products.
The lawsuit had been ongoing since September 2001, when MercExchange sued EBay. "We thought it was best to put it behind us, so we wrapped it up," said MercExchange founder Tom Woolston.
Interesting outcome of this case and a historic moment for all those with patents and trying to protect themselves against patent infringement.
I like the eBay "Buy it Now" feature and have used it many times. Now I know the patent orginally came from MercExchange.