Advanced Auctions LLC filed a lawsuit against eBay for patent infringement on Thursday. The company claims eBay is violating its patent ‘000 entitled “Real Time Auction with End Game.” The complaint states that by automatically updating the time and bid amount during the final hour of its online auctions, eBay infringes the ‘000 patent, and it is requesting a jury trial.
eBay is not unfamiliar with patent infringement complaints – it famously fought MercExchange, which filed a patent lawsuit against eBay in 2001. After eBay lost the case, it appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, which heard the case on March 29, 2006. Ultimately the two sides settled and eBay acquired MercExchange patents in 2008. (See the full background on MercExchange v eBay.)
GigaOm wrote about the Advanced Auctions lawsuit this week, writing that Advanced Auctions patent owner Scott Harris “is already notorious for once running a website called “ImAPatentTroll.com” and for allegedly helping to sue clients from his former law firm.”
Patent infringement disputes are increasingly common, especially among Internet firms. Last month, the White House outlined legislative proposals and executive actions aimed at curbing frivolous patent litigation, which it says is a major problem for the retail sector, affecting sellers online and off. The proposals include a call for lawmakers to produce legislation that would grant courts more discretion in awarding fees in patent cases, including latitude to impose attorney fees on plaintiffs whose claims are thrown out.