eBay, MercExchange settle 'Buy it Now' patent feud

As part of the agreement, eBay will purchase from MercExchange three patents which cover search, online auction, and fixed price sales.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. "We're pleased to have been able to reach a settlement with MercExchange," eBay general counsel Mike Jacobson said in a statement.

eBay does not expect its payment to affect either its 2007 results or 2008 financial guidance. In addition to the patents directly involved in the lawsuit, the auction site also purchased other technologies from the company.

Ironically, the patents that eBay purchased are the exact same ones that it had challenged with the US Patent Office. In fact, the agency has already investigated those patents' validity at least once.

The agreement effectively ends a seven-year court battle which went all the way to the Supreme Court. That ruling effectively weakened the courts' powers to issue injunctions against companies that infringe on others' patented technologies.

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