Case Against eBay to Proceed

Online auctioneer eBay Inc. suffered a legal blow this week as United States District Court Judge Ronald Whyte denied the company’s motion to dismiss a suit brought by auction aggregator Bidder’s Edge Inc.

Bidder’s Edge filed its suit against eBay on Feb. 7. The suit claims eBay is violating federal antitrust laws by blocking Bidder’s Edge from reposting eBay’s listings. The portal contends that eBay’s listings are the property of the individuals who post them, not eBay itself. And it says that an eBay win would chill the ability of search firms to relist data from other sites.

Bidder’s Edge’s suit is a counterclaim to a suit eBay filed against the company last year. eBay accused the company of “virtual trespassing” by conducting its searches and relisting them at its own site. eBay said the unauthorized access harmed its computer system. eBay’s suit has not yet been settled, but, in June, Judge Whyte ordered Bidder’s Edge to cease relisting eBay’s auction postings until the case comes to trial. The trial is set for next March.

However, Judge Whyte ruled against eBay’s motion to dismiss the counterclaim, saying that Bidder’s Edge’s allegation was “sufficient to allege antitrust standing.” He added, “eBay’s arguments regarding the merits of this allegation are not appropriately resolved on motion to dismiss.”

As a result of Judge Whyte’s ruling, Bidder’s edge will be allowed to proceed with its suit.

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