EBay has changed how old Beanie Babies are bought and sold. Now it may help change how software patents are handled by the courts. The U.S. Supreme Court last week agreed to consider whether a federal-court injunction is warranted to keep eBay from offering a "Buy It Now" feature that was found to infringe on a patent held by MercExchange.
The issue is whether an injunction blocking the use of a technology should follow upon a finding of patent infringement, as almost inevitably happens today. EBay argues that an injunction gives the patent holder unfair advantage in extracting licensing fees; MercExchange contends injunctions protect small inventors against deep-pocketed companies. The precedent dates to a 1908 case involving two paper-bag makers. But given how interdependent computer systems have become, and the communities that can depend on a technology, it's worth rethinking injunctions' role. By hearing the case, the court may be showing it's open to that notion. Says Stuart Meyer, a patent lawyer with the firm Fenwick & West, "Changes are afoot."
IT's Reputation: What the Data SaysInformationWeek's IT Perception Survey seeks to quantify how IT thinks it's doing versus how the business really views IT's performance in delivering services - and, more important, powering innovation. Our results suggest IT leaders should worry less about whether they're getting enough resources and more about the relationships they have with business unit peers.
What The Business Really Thinks Of IT: 3 Hard TruthsThey say perception is reality. If so, many in-house IT departments have reason to worry. InformationWeek's IT Perception Survey seeks to quantify how IT thinks it's doing versus how the business views IT's performance in delivering services - and, more important, powering innovation. The news isn't great.