Friday, September 24, 2004

DESPITE BEING NICKED, EBAY DECIDES TO KEEP HALF.COM: EBay Inc. announced Thursday that it will keep its subsidiary open indefinitely, scrapping previous plans to shutter the e-commerce site in mid-October.

EBay spokesman Hani Durzy said executives decided to keep open because it still generates revenue and brings customers to eBay. EBay does not break out traffic or revenue data specific to, but Durzy said that nearly half of all eBay listings for books, music, video and games come from sellers. is also the subject of a festering lawsuit.

Earlier this year, jurors ruled that the eBay division violated patents filed by Thomas G. Woolston, an entrepreneur who founded an e-commerce company called MercExchange in Great Falls, Va. In May, a federal jury awarded Woolston $35 million, and patent experts said the ruling could force eBay to close EBay appealed, and the case is still in the courts.

-- An interesting note here - while the Washington Post describes Mr. Woolston as an "entrepreneur", he also happens to be a registered patent attorney as well. MercExchange has been pretty active in obtaining licenses from many of the players in online auctions. Let's see what the Federal Circuit has to say when the EBay case goes on appeal . . .

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