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eBay, Inc. v. MercExchange, LLC

United States Supreme Court
547 U.S. 388 (2006)


Facts

MercExchange, LLC (“Merc”) (plaintiff) holds a patent for an electronic market designed to facilitate the sale of goods between private individuals by establishing a central authority. eBay, Inc., and a subsidiary, Half.com, (defendants) operated Internet websites which used a similar electronic market system allowing private sellers to list goods they would like to sell to buyers, either through an auction or at a fixed price. Merc unsuccessfully tried to license its patent to eBay and Half.com. Merc then filed a patent infringement suit against both companies in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. A jury found that eBay and Half.com had infringed on Merc’s patent and assessed damages, but the court denied Merc’s motion for a permanent injunction preventing eBay and Half.com from operating their websites. Merc appealed and the court of appeals reversed, applying its “general rule that courts will issue permanent injunctions against patent infringement absent exceptional circumstances.” eBay and Half.com’s petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court was granted.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Thomas, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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Concurrence (Roberts, C.J.)

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Concurrence (Kennedy, J.)

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