What happens when super mega corporations and the interests groups that go with them collide?
Ebay is fighting off a landmark patent case tomorrow (Wednesday Mar 29, 2006) against a company named MercExchange.
Ebay’s “Buy it Now” feature is contended to infringe on 2 patents, which Ebay does not own.
The situation demarks the two sides to the argument:
1. Technology companies looking to protect themselves from intellectual property holders
RIM and Ebay in recent cases have fallen in to this camp.
2. Technology companies looking to protect their intellectual property
Microsoft, RIAA, Pharmaceutical companies fall into this camp
The battle ground happens to be the process or legal mechanism that allows this protecting to occur. It’s the Injunction.
All the talk and paperwork, and patents and copyright symbols in the world aren’t worth a hill of beans unless there are three things in place: 1. A law to define the system, 2. A judiciary to decide upon questions in the law, 3. A mechanism to enforce the law – Injunction
Lots of focus is routinely placed on the laws themselves and even in the way a judge acts in creating or not creating new case law.
However, the injunction and how its enforced is now at stake.
If the injunction process is weakened, Pharmaceutical patent holders even copyright holders like Microsoft could be protected less harming their business.
If its maintained, companies argue that they can be harmed by frivolous or unmerited patent claims (reminiscent of the lawyer that created a patent for Phone menu’s and later sued for lost profits 10 years after they had been in use.)
The old saying goes, don’t pick a fight you can’t win. In this case, Ebay a technology company with patents and copyrights of its own, might be better served settling and not disrupting the status quo from a strictly financial perspective. However, if they have to chase an ideology, we’ll sit back and watch the collision.
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