Bidding for a Copyright Injunction After eBay

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The Supreme Court’s 2006 decision in eBay Inc. v. MercExchange addressed the standard for permanent injunctive relief to prevent future infringement of a business-method patent for an electronic marketplace. In eBay, the Court rejected the presumption in favor of granting a permanent injunction upon a finding of patent infringement and held that a court’s decision whether to grant or deny such relief is “an act of equitable discretion.” The Court then set forth a traditional four-factor test for courts to follow when considering permanent injunctive relief in the patent context, requiring a plaintiff to demonstrate: “(1) that it has suffered an irreparable injury; (2) that remedies available at law, such as monetary damages, are inadequate to compensate for that injury; (3) that, 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.” Notably, in reaching its decision, the Court drew a parallel between the rights of a patent owner and those of a copyright owner, observing that the Court has “consistently rejected invitations to replace traditional equitable considerations with a rule that an injunction automatically follows a determination that a copyright has been infringed.”

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