Federal Judges Go With eBay, PayPal in Online Billing Firm’s Patent Infringement Case

Slav Kandyba
MADISON, Wisc. — A federal appeals court panel has denied a patent infringement lawsuit brought by an Internet billing company against eBay and PayPal.

At the core of the suit was whether Netcraft and Andrew Egendorft, the company’s president and registered patent-holder, provided the means that their service is delivered to the end user: the Internet.

Judges at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit concluded that Netcraft’s claim wasn’t convincing enough.

“We have considered the cited prosecution history and conclude that it lacks the clarity of the specification regarding the meaning of the claim terms at issue here,’ thus rendering it less useful for claim construction purposes,” the appeals panel wrote.

The three judges issued their opinion in Netcraft vs. eBay Inc. and PayPal Inc. at the U.S. District Court in Madison, Wisc., last week.

At both the district and the appeals level, the judges decided that Netcraft’s claim should be dismissed because the billing company doesn’t provide Internet access to customers.

They noted both patents held by Egendorft specify that there’s “a communications link through equipment of the third party.”

Netcraft originally sued eBay and PayPal at U.S. District Court in Madison before Chief Judge Barbara B. Crabb.