eBay Sued for Infringing Online Auction Patent

By Joseph Mandour on February 20, 2013

ebay-150x150 San Diego – eBay Inc. was sued in the Southern District of California in San Diego for allegedly infringing patents that cover technology related to the display of auction information online.

Patent-holding company Advanced Auctions LLC took issue with the way in which eBay displays price and time information for auctions held on its website.  Advanced Auctions specifically pointed to the technology eBay uses to update bid and pricing information in the last hour of an auction as infringing its patents.

In the complaint filed in San Diego, Advanced Auctions alleges that eBay’s website shows the highest current bid and the time remaining in the auction for every active auction.  Before the final hour of the auction, the website does not automatically update this information.  It is up to the user to manually refresh the browser to get the most current time and bid information.

Once the last hour of the auction hits, the highest bid and time remaining in the auction is automatically updated by the website, which Advanced Auctions claims infringes its “Real Time Auction with End Game” patent.

Del Mar, California-based Advanced Auctions claimed it sent a cease and desist letter to eBay regarding its alleged patent infringement, but the company claims eBay never responded to the letter or ceased using the technology that Advance Suctions claims infringes on its patents.

According to the complaint, eBay’s 2012 annual report shows that 37 percent of the San Jose, California-based online auction house’s gross merchandise volume was handled through its online auctions.  Since those auctions use Advanced Auctions’ patented technology, the company claims, eBay is also contributing to direct infringement by its users.

Advanced Auctions alleged that since eBay has continued to use the automatic auction updating technology after it received notice of Advanced Auctions’ patent, eBay’s infringement is willful.

Advanced Auctions is asking the court for a judgment that eBay infringed its patents, an injunction preventing eBay from continuing to infringe its patent, an accounting of damages suffered by Advanced Auctions, treble damages, attorney’s fees and costs.

Judge John A. Houston of the Southern District of California in San Diego will hear the case.

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Posted in: Patent Infringement