back to article eBay whacked with giant patent suit

eBay is being sued for a minimum of $3.8bn by a company which claims the auction house wilfully copied six of its patents. Should eBay be found guilty of wilful and malicious infringement it would have to pay three times that or up to $11.4bn. XPRT Ventures LLC of Connecticut claims that eBay not only stole its technology for …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    The lawyer is right.

    "What makes this case particularly egregious is the allegation [...]". Yes. Exactly.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder if they will settle out of court?

    Paypal gift only :D

  3. Anonymous Coward


    rub salt intot wounds and say you only except Google Checkout.

  4. Dunstan Vavasour


    What makes this case egregious is the amount of damages being claimed, which appear to be based on the success of the defendant rather than any provable damage to the plaintiff.

    In terms of patent law the alleged actions of eBay are shocking, but not $3.8bn shocking.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Hang on though...

    I might have got this wrong but aren't some patents available for licence on a 'per-use' basis? Perhaps XPRT are doing just what the RIAA are doing and claiming costs based on the number of transactions carried out using the allegedly infringing technology.

    Apologies if I'm dreadfully oversimplifying things but just because 'a big company' decided to dismiss the suit as egregious doesn't mean it isn't up to anything naughty.

  6. L1feless

    Not accurate....

    No the damages being claimed are likely the sum of the fees which should have been paid to the plaintiff for the use of his technology (Technologies).

  7. Ed Deckard

    eBay vs patent trolls?

    I hope the legal expenses bankrupt them both.

  8. gotes


    .. leaving us with a pack of very wealthy lawyers in search of their next victim(s)? No thanks!

  9. mego

    Ok, I'll bite

    What product is XPRT Ventures LLC offering that eBay is infringing on? I can't see anything other than a stock market listing and news on the suit.

    And if it's got nothing but a patent then it can get bent.

  10. lglethal Silver badge

    A quick test to identify a troll...

    Question a) When did sued company apparently begin using the already patented technology?

    Question b) What was the revenue of sued company at that time?

    Question c) What is the revenue of sued company now?

    If the answer to a) Is a long time ago; the answer to b) not so much; and the answer to c) a sh*tload; You have a troll...

    Any questions at the back?

  11. Prodigal Rebel

    What I really wonder is

    why oh why do they file now what? 10 years after Ebay and Pp were founded? Imho there should be a very very very good reason why they only file now so much later

  12. Andrew Halliwell

    There is a very very good reason...

    Ebay hadn't made any money 10 years ago.

    Now they have.

    Mine's the one with the auctioneeer's gabble in the pocket.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    By "gabble"

    Did you mean you have a recording of the auctioneer's patois in your coat pocket or did you really mean "gavel" (the little mallet)?

  14. Doug Glass

    Oh Duhhh

    Gavel. Ok, senior moment there.

  15. Doug Glass


    What's a "gabble"?

  16. hoppityhop

    Good question, but the facts extant are more compelling.

    Rebel - that was my first reaction. But, we don't know whether there have been settlement discussions over the years between the two sides, and whether a key piece of evidence has surfaced, making the suit viable. The timeliness issue was undoubtedly argued--and lost--by the defendant to the court in an attempt for summary judgment.

    The notorious patent infringement case against Ford [Kearns v. Ford Motor Co., 203, U.S.P.Q. 884, 888 (E.D.Mich. 1978)] took twelve years to adjudicate, because these companies have the resources to drag out the process until the plaintiff either tires of the delays, runs out of resources, or drops dead.

    The overriding facts here are the patents held by the plaintiff which were applied for several times by--and refused to--the defendant.

  17. AC-This-Isn't-Facebook

    Title Required

    Software patents, again, shouldn't be allowed.

    All these patent theft claims and lawsuits lately are utterly ridiculous.

  18. paulc

    you forget the fundamental problem...

    these patents should not be granted in the first place as they're basically patenting an idea with a flowchart and a computer involved...

  19. Anonymous Coward


    Only one, already very rich group, wins with patents, but they have had to spend all that time in law school I suppose...

  20. yoinkster

    why have they waited?

    Did they want to wait for eBay to get sufficiently large so that they could cash in?

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Why so long?

    I'm no fan of eBay at all, but why has it taken so long for this patent infringement to hit the court? Surely, eBay has been doing things the same way (and presumably infringing these parents) for years?

    As for "One of the inventors, George Likourezos..." : Why do ALL American computer people seem to have weird names? Wozniak, Kernigan, Zimmermann...

  22. david wilson


    >>"As for "One of the inventors, George Likourezos..." : Why do ALL American computer people seem to have weird names? Wozniak, Kernigan, Zimmermann..."

    Last thing I heard, the USA had dropped the requirement to be English before moving there.

    Also, does non-English automatically equal 'weird'?

    In any case, what about Gates, Thompson, Bell, Moore, Grove, Ellison, Evans, Sutherland, etc.

    Or the 'slightly more weird' Warnock, Kildall, etc

  23. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: @AC

    American names came from all over the place and were often altered/mangled along the way. It's interesting. My family name was a right jumble of consonants.

    Anyway, the point is, it's not 'weird', it's quite normal, so shush.

  24. Steven Hunter


    Let me guess, Apis-Mellifera?

  25. John H Woods Silver badge

    Prize ...

    ... subtlest attempt to call the moderatrix 'honey'

  26. ShaggyDoggy


    Hopefully ebay have $11.4bn in their paypal account

  27. Eristone

    Re: Paypal

    Shaggy Dog, of course they do. It is currently being held in a Nigerian Bank Account and they will need some information to help move it ...

  28. Flybert

    hell .. they probably have 11 billion ...

    just in that phony "3-4 business days depending on your bank's policy" account

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Makes me think of that Jobseekers plot in The League of Gentlemen.


  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You set of lazy workshy cu.....

    Agreed, superb telly.

  31. Jason 24
    Thumb Up


    I can't see them winning, but would be nice to see those greedy fucks at ebay stomped into the ground!

  32. CT


    "Why do ALL American computer people seem to have weird names? Wozniak, Kernigan, Zimmermann..."

    Suspect it's not just computer people. Many people emigrated from all parts of the world to America.

  33. N2 Silver badge

    Hasta La Vista E-bay

    I hope they win & they dont take PayPal

  34. FARfetched

    Best defense is a good offense

    I've always wondered why one (or more) large companies with deep pockets doesn't try hitting a patent troll in the wallet. In other words, attempt to get their patents invalidated based on prior art or any other means. After that happened a few times, those trolls would either find some other line of work (probably as spammers) or approach companies early on with reasonable licensing terms.

  35. Lou Gosselin

    Re: Best defense is a good offense

    Many "IP trolls" cannot be sued for infringement themselves, since they merely sell licensing and not the technology itself. So there's no way to counter sue them.

    Invalidating the IP troll's patents may be possible, however that's likely to result in significant friendly fire on one's own portfolio. The evidence used to invalidate the troll's patents could also directly invalidate one's own patents. Let's not forget that a troll can threaten not only patents in the suite, but also patents that are not part of the suite. It's black mail, but it's very likely target company has plenty of invalid patents itself.

    Given how little software patents do to promote innovation, and how much damage is done by monopolizing it, we should bar any further software patents from being issued.

  36. A J Stiles

    May be worth it, though

    It might be worth sacrificing some of your own patents to kill a troll.

    Remember, the patent holder has the twin advantages that (1) they are already making the product and (2) they have already established a strong brand for themselves.

    It's all about who is in the better position to deal with the consequences.

  37. Anonymous Coward

    good luck changing patent law

    Fighting the worlds biggest self serving conflict of interest.

    Lawyers become politicians and lawmakers and make laws which are designed to make money for lawyers (while pretending to represent the people)

  38. Lou Gosselin

    Re: good luck changing patent law

    The notion of representing the people is just a pesky front; make no mistake, the government works for wealthy corporations.

  39. hoppityhop

    Attention California Voters -- Don't Vote for Meg-A-Phony Whitman

    She spent her way to the GOP nomination, and wouldn't talk to the media, or debate her opponents. The California Governorship is just another ego trip for this b*tch.

  40. LateNightLarry

    Attention California Voters --

    You mean NutMeg Whitman? That's one of the less nasty names she's being called on Facebook. I heard today that her ratings are still going down... They can keep right on dropping for all I care. I can't be bothered to vote for someone who, by her own admission, "couldn't be bothered" to vote for the last 20 years or so.

    MEGaFAIL Whitman. Really need two icons for this one... FAIL, and flames, to burn her chances

  41. hoppityhop

    Yup - what a two-faced lyin POS

    She was gung ho for the AZ stop-and-deport law until she routed Poizner for the GOP nomination. The next day she flip flopped on immigration. About the only certainty with her ensconced would be a CA version of the Bush II tax cuts for the rich.

    Naturally, she'll use her influence to bail her children out of trouble.

    Whether it's Bloomberg running NYC or this piece of work running CA, it's a bad idea to let billionaires set the agenda for the rest of us. :(

  42. belantario


    on line tat bazaar????

    nice to see impartial reporting

  43. Tom Maddox Silver badge

    Welcome to The Register!

    You must be new here, so I'll just let you know that if you get your panties in a twist over such a little thing, you'll surely be offended much more by, for example, their coverage of all things Apple. I look forward to your future expressions of offense.

  44. Neil Greatorex

    @ belantario

    You must be new here, oh wait...."joined Wednesday 14th July 2010 14:27 GMT"

    "online tat bazaar" is actually quite impartial.

    Have you been there recently?

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You must be new here

    That is all.

  46. Steve Roper

    Yes, welcome...

    To help you appreciate El Reg's particular brand of iconoclastic journalism, I'll point you to the site's tagline, visible at the top right of the header: "Biting the hand that feeds IT". That tagline is there for a reason. It's what El Reg does. And it's what we, the commentard community, appreciate it for!

  47. Lou Gosselin

    No no no

    "XPRT Ventures LLC of Connecticut claims that eBay not only stole its technology for use in online payment systems including PayPal but added insult to injury by then filing its own patents."

    eBay didn't steal XPRT's technologies. That would involve ebay breaking in and removing those technologies from XPRT's possession. For the Nth time, infringing does not imply theft!

    Register reporters need to use the correct technical terminologies.

  48. Tom Maddox Silver badge

    Commentards need to learn to read

    The Reg is reporting that XPRT claims that eBay stole its technologies. If XPRT is *not* claiming that, then you might have a point, but it sounds like they are, so you don't.

  49. Tom Maddox Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    And furthermore . . .

    Having reread the article, it sounds like XPRT is claiming that eBay got a look at XPRT's technology and then went ahead and both used and patented it themselves without licensing it, which sounds pretty damn close to theft in the vernacular sense.

  50. Antidisestablishmentarianist

    Spoken like a

    true freetard.....


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