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                  eBay Sues Auction Comparison
                  Web Site for Infringement

                  E-Commerce Law Weekly 
                  December 21, 1999 

                  Websites that function as auction-comparison
                  sites -- consolidating information from multiple
                  auction websites so that auction shoppers can
                  look for bargains in one convenient place -- may
                  have to rethink their business models if the giant
                  of online auctions has its way.

                  The San Jose, Calif. company eBay, Inc., which
                  pioneered the burgeoning Internet auction market,
                  filed a lawsuit Dec. 10 against the
                  Massachusetts company Bidders Edge, claiming
                  that defendant’s indexing of and links to
                  information on the eBay website infringes on
                  eBay’s copyrights and is trespassory and unfair
                  use of the eBay site (eBay Inc. v. Bidder’s Edge,
                  D. Calif., No. 0-99 21200, filed 12/10/99).

                  The lawsuit’s complaint accuses Bidder’s Edge of
                  a wide range of tortious activity under California
                  and federal law, including trespass to personal
                  property, unfair business practices, copyright
                  infringement, misappropriation, false advertising,
                  federal trademark dilution, injury to business
                  reputation, interference with prospective
                  economic advantage, and unjust enrichment.
                  eBay seeks monetary damages and restitution
                  for unjust enrichment.

                  The complaint, which demands a jury trial, states
                  in its trespass to personal property claim that
                  "defendant has used, accessed, and
                  intermeddled with and continues to use, access,
                  and intermeddle with eBay’s computer systems
                  for defendant’s own commercial benefit." Similar
                  language, asserting that Bidders Edge has
                  misused or taken eBay’s property, is used to
                  underscore eBay’s misappropriation and unjust
                  enrichment claims. 

                  Other claims in the complaint are grounded in
                  federal intellectual property law, with specific
                  allegations of copyright infringement and
                  trademark dilution. With regard to the latter, the
                  complaint states that "Bidder’s Edge’s repeated
                  display of the mark EBAY in its categorized
                  auction listings and its ‘All Auction Search’
                  results page have diluted and continue to dilute
                  the distinctive quality of the EBAY mark." 


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