EBay’s “Buy It Now” feature
might be closed down because of Patent Infringement
March 11th, 2006
Ebay's Buy It Now
EBay was found guilty by the federal
government against a patent infringement dispute with MercExchange LLC
over the “Buy It Now” feature. The “Buy It Now” feature lets a person
complete an auction instantly at a fixed price instead of waiting of an
auction to complete at a later time.
It is estimated that about one-third
of eBay sales are completed with the “Buy It Now” feature. It is often
a selling point to items that are new and a person wants a fast turn
EBay at this point did not have an
injunction to stop using the features yet. The district court made the
decision to deny an injunction. However, an appellate court reversed
It is still up in the air whether
the injunction will be enforced. The high court will hear the arguments
in the next couple of weeks.
EBay argued that they shouldn’t be
forced to shut down these features as MercExchange LLC has not been
using these feature since 2000. MercExchange says it does practice
using these features by licensing it to other companies which are
Ubid.com and Autotrader.com.
At this point eBay is still able to
use the “Buy It Now” feature, but may either be forced to pay licensing
or to remove the feature altogether, depending on the ruling by the
courts later this month.
This could be detrimental to eBay as
it would lose a lot of sales if the buyers have to wait for auctions to
close. They could possibly add in more of the storefront sales in an
effort to address instant buyers. It would be likely the eBay store
fees would go up if the “Buy It Now” is removed because eBay will
probably try to pass the fees over to the storefront.
I don’t think it will affect eBay
except in the short term. It will end up with rate changes that could
slow business for eBay as the Storefront sellers are more thrift minded
sellers. It could help to shift the business to Craigslist, GoogleBase,
Overstock.com, or Yahoo Auctions.
Best Syndication Staff Writer
Keywords and misspellings: E-bay buy-it-now
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