OT: eBay being sued over patent infringement (et al)

From: Patrick Rigney <patrick_at_evocative.com>
Date: Thu Apr 24 13:55:01 2003

Going back to where this started: Sellam posted a link about eBay being sued
over patent infringement.

What are the real merits of this case? I know Jerry Kaplan founded OnSale
in 1994. I haven't read the patent, but I know that eBay is not unique in
what it is doing, and it wasn't the first. Whether or not we LIKE eBay, it
may be worth considering how the service would change if they lost the suit,
and how this would affect ALL similar sites, including Yahoo, DoveBid, etc.

For myself, I'm very concerned that the USPTO has issued many frivolous and
unwarranted patents for processes that existed previously and/or are too
obvious or trivial. eBay was also recently sued by a company that claims to
have a patent on the caching of data for presentation in a user interface,
for example. The patent describes a caching mechanism that is generally the
way most web browsers interoperate with a web server. The USPTO is, IMHO,
overwhelmed and missing critical resources and subject matter experts in the
evaluation of its applications. Grave mistakes have been made, and to me
the article to which Sellam refers is just another (quite alarming) reminder
of that fact.

I offer patent #6,549,904 - a patent granted to Amazon.com just LAST WEEK
for "A method and system for generating notifications of auctions based on
user notification requests", which is in summary, you choose categories of
items and identifying keywords, and the system will email you when matching
auctions are found. This is now a patented process, and whoever felt this
was a process unique and worthy enough of a patent needs a performance
review, IMHO.

I get at least one email a day from eBay and Yahoo Auctions, which is now
evidence of their infringement as of 4/15/2003.


Patent 6,549,904:

Received on Thu Apr 24 2003 - 13:55:01 BST

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