Ebay Inc. v. Mercexchange LLC
United States Supreme Court
May 15, 2006

(Not exactly a video game case, but worth noting nonetheless, as it will apply to video game lawsuits.)

Today the United States Supreme Court reversed the Federal Circuit decision in Ebay Inc. v. Mercexchange LLC, holding that injunctive relief is to be granted in patent cases using the same traditional test as in any other case, i.e., by weighing the following four factors: (1) irreparable injury suffered by the plaintiff; (2) remedies available at law, such as monetary damages, are inadequate to compensate for that injury; (3) considering the balance of hardships between the plaintiff and defendant, a remedy in equity is warranted; and (4) that the public interest would not be disserved by a permanent injunction.

The Court reversed the Federal Circuit’s previous “general rule” that permanent injunctions will issue once infringement and validity have been adjudged, indicating that “the decision whether to grant or deny injunctive relief rests within the equitable discretion of the district courts, and that such discretion must be exercised consistent with traditional principles of equity, in patent disputes no less than in other cases governed by such standards.”

Interesting dicta indicates that the Court takes no position as to whether an injunction should issue in this case or any other case, and that there are circumstances where a patent owner who is not practicing his/her patent (patent troll?) may still be entitled to an injunction.

Read the full opinion.