High Court Sides With eBay

The ruling could have huge implications for tech.
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The Supreme Court on Monday took


(EBAY) - Get Report

side in a closely watched patent dispute, according to news reports.

The court set aside a federal appeals court's ruling that an injunction must be imposed against eBay in its face-off with closely held e-commerce developer MercExchange,



"A plaintiff seeking a permanent injunction must satisfy a four-factor test before a court may grant such relief," Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the unanimous decision,

The Wall Street Journal


The ruling comes six weeks after the

high court heard the case, which is seen as having broad implications for the high-tech industry. The ruling also comes on the heels of a big settlement of a patent dispute between

Research in Motion


and closely held patent holder NTP of Virginia.

The question in the eBay case was whether a court should immediately be required to issue an injunction once it finds infringement of a patent. Last year, a federal court denied MercExchange's request for a court order to prevent eBay from using its patent in the auction giant's Buy It Now service. eBay and other tech firms have contended that injunctions give too much leverage to patent holders who otherwise would have no way of commercializing their intellectual property.

Buy It Now, in which users purchase goods directly instead of through auctions, accounted for about one-third of the value of the goods sold on eBay last year.

On Monday, eBay slipped 6 cents to $31.43.