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Mon Nov 28 2005 15:22:50

If eBay Owned Auction and Consignment Patents...,

By: Ina Steiner

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If eBay owned Auction and Consignment patents, would it be arguing against injunctions? It's something to think about.

According to Adam Cohen's book on eBay history, "The Perfect Store," eBay hired its first lawyer in October 1997, Brad Handler. "As an intellectual property lawyer, he was particularly pained to see that eBay had not bothered to patent a single aspect of its site,...Patents on eBay's most important innovations would have been enormously lucrative, and would have made it far more difficult for rivals to move into the online auction space."

eBay's behavior toward trademarks give an indication of just how it might have wielded patent ownership. Among the victims of eBay lawyers' Cease & Desist letters:

BayPal.com (changed to inkFrog.com)

BrickBay.com (changed to BrickLink.com)

BidBay.com (changed to AuctionDiner.com)

AlternaBay (changed to AlternaBid.com)




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