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eBay Settles Patent Dispute With MercExchange
Topics in Legal News | 2008/02/28 11:17

eBay has agreed to settle a patent dispute with MercExchange. The online auction company told investors Thursday it would buy MercExchange's patents and MercExchange would dismiss all claims and appeals regarding a lawsuit it filed seven years ago.

"We're pleased to have been able to reach a settlement with MercExchange," Mike Jacobson, eBay senior VP and general counsel, said in a prepared statement. "In addition to resolving the litigation, this settlement gives us access to additional intellectual property that will help improve and further secure our marketplaces."

MercExchange claimed credit for eBay's fixed price auction options through eBay's "Buy It Now" feature, saying the online auction infringed on three of its patents. According to records from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, MercExchange filed for the patents in 1995, 1999, and 2001.

eBay tried to fight a judgment that would have cost the company about $30 million. The case went up and back down the U.S. court system. In December of 2007, a U.S. District Court ruling concluded in December that the court lacked authority to consider eBay's motion for summary judgment.

eBay claimed then that it did not infringe on MercExchange's '265 patents and that it owed no damages.

eBay said it will buy three patents, related technology and inventions, as well as a license to a search patent portfolio that is separate from the lawsuit.

The companies did not disclose other settlement terms, which eBay said are confidential. eBay said the settlement should not affect its 2007 results or 2008 financial guidance from January's fourth quarter earnings release.



Court Denies Altria Motions To Dimiss Claims
Topics in Legal News | 2008/02/27 13:57

The law firm of Broach & Stulberg LLP said the U.S. District Court denied Altria Group Inc.'s (MO) motions to dismiss an age discrimination and retaliation lawsuit brought by a former Swiss-based employee against Altria and Philip Morris International Inc.

The motions sought to dismiss the claims on the ground that the U.S. court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because the plaintiff, D'Arcy Quinn, was employed by a "foreign" employer not subject to the U.S. Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

Judge Laura Taylor Swain ruled that Altria "failed to raise a meritorious issue as to lack of subject matter jurisdiction."

The suit alleges that firing, hirings and promotions within Philip Morris illegally considered ages of candidates and employees.

The suit was filed in October in the U.S. District Court for the Southern district of New York on behalf Quinn, a former Philip Morris brand integrity director who served as in-house counsel for international anti-counterfeiting and anti-smuggling matters.

An Altria spokesman wasn't immediately available for comment.



US appeals court rejects California ship emission rules
Headline Legal News | 2008/02/27 11:24
California must obtain approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency before enforcing new rules to require ships to burn cleaner diesel fuel as they enter and dock at the state's ports, a federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday.

The California Air Resources Board had sought to implement stricter air pollution controls within 24 miles of the state's coastline. The rules would require ships to use fuel in their auxiliary engines that emits lower levels of sulphur oxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter.

But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal reinstated a lower court's injunction barring the state from enforcing its Marine Vessel Rules, finding that the Clean Air Act preempts them.



Law Firm seeks secretary
Legal Marketing | 2008/02/25 14:09
Law Firm seeks secretary for entry level position in our Washington County office. Some phone experience a plus. Position requires excellent computer and communication skills; as well as accurate typing, spelling and proofreading skills.

Please send resume and salary requirements to:

Administrator, PO Box 2017, Glens Falls,
NY 12801 or
fax to 518-745-1575
or email to wlr@fmbf-law.com


A Law Firm Puts Its Chefs on Trial
Topics in Legal News | 2008/02/25 13:58

Big-time lawyers are pros at waiting for judges' tough decisions, but yesterday afternoon at Nixon Peabody in the District, some may have posted fewer billable hours until results of the firm's 19th annual cook-off were handed down.

The competition pits men against women, which could lead to actionable territory and dangerous stereotyping. Yet, it has helped build camaraderie among all departments, firm employees say, pointing to Nixon Peabody's ranking among Fortune magazine Top 100 Best Companies to Work For, three years running. Still, the trash talk leading up to the cook-off can start two months in advance, when planning meetings and team captains are chosen. Attempts have been made in past years to choose sides differently -- by floor, say, instead of along gender lines. Those negotiations have failed.

Some companies set up tennis or golf tournaments, which can draw more male than female employees. Nixon Peabody's cook-off turns out to attract partners and paralegals alike and is even more popular than the bocce tournaments it has held in the summer.

Not all the women in the firm, which has 216 employees in its Washington office and about 1,725 nationwide, agree on the event's attractions. Women's team co-captain and associate Emily Hargrove, 30, says that although more women than men participate, she still ran into plenty of resistance from women in the firm who said they don't cook; they just make reservations.



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