eBay guilty of patent infringement

A federal jury on Tuesday found eBay guilty of patent infringement and ordered the online auction giant to pay $35 million in damages.

A U.S. district Court jury sided with MercExchange of Great Falls, Va., which accused eBay in 2001 of infringing on three patents held by MercExchange founder Tom Woolston. The verdict determined that eBay and its Half.com subsidiary willfully infringed on two of those patents with their "Buy It Now" feature for fixed-price sales.

The willful infringement ruling opens the door for the judge to hold eBay liable for triple damages, or $105 million, said Neil Smith, an attorney specializing in intellectual property law at Howard Rice, a San Francisco firm. The judge may also issue an injunction against eBay to prevent the company from continuing to use the patented invention, a method for using a credit card to lock in an offer when purchasing items online, Smith said.

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News source: C|net

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