Saturday, July 28, 2007

eBay's patent problems with "Buy It Now"

As much as I despise eBay (for a host of reasons), SCOTUS got this one wrong. The MercExchange patent should have been voided. There are very real problems at the USPTO these days when it comes to "technology" type patents. There's a vast amount of crap being awarded patents falling under the category of "obvious" or when there is prior art the patent filer failed to disclose or direct real world analogs making a technological implementation of same trivial and obvious.

I had two software patents awarded while at IBM. Neither of which was obvious, and neither of which had meat world analogs.

Seriously, "buy it now" is pretty much the same thing as the listing price on a house where several buyers will be making offers (i.e. bids). The first guy who offers the seller's listing price is going to take it. To patent something as obvious as this, that has clear real world analogs, that have been in practice for thousands of years in fact, is a travesty.

Next we'll find out that some jackass has patented "the idea" of a door knob.

A federal judge Friday denied a request from a small Virginia company to stop the online auction powerhouse eBay Inc. from using a feature that allows shoppers to purchase items at a fixed price[...]

[...]Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that although eBay infringed upon MercExchange's patent for the service, it was up to the lower court to decide whether eBay had to stop using it[...]


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