eBay has won a crucial patent that grants the company the rights to the entire online auctioning model that exists today. The announcement from USPTO comes over 11 years since the company first applied for a patent to this technology.
The patent titled, “Computer-implement method and system for conducting auctions on the internet” describes its innovation thus:
“Methods and apparatus for a system for facilitating electronic commerce transactions with a first data storage location for holding information about an item for auction from a first participant in a data packet network, a verification process that verifies the user identification of the first participant in said data packet network, the verification process confirming a user identification before allowing the participant in said data packet network access to place information about an item for auction in the system, a display process for displaying information of the item for auction to a plurality of data packet network users, the display process displaying an advertisement with the item for auction to the plurality of data packet users, an auction process for receiving bids on the item for auction from at least one of said plurality of data packet network users, the auction process also verifying a user identification from said at least one of a plurality of data packet network users before allowing receipt of the bid and a notification process for notifying the plurality of data packet network participants that said bid was accepted by said system.”
As you can see, this is very much the core model of online auctioning as it exists today and with eBay now holding the rights to the online auction process, the several clones that have mushroomed over the years may well be at the risk of a lawsuit.