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2016] PERMANENT INJUNCTIONS IN PATENT LITIGATION 1951
patent law decisions of the past decade.2 It has been extensively cited by lower
federal courts,3 and is the subject of numerous law review articles.4 The case
has also spawned a significant transformation in the field of remedies,
reshaping the test for permanent injunctive relief in numerous areas outside
of patent law.5
Despite its perceived importance, however, there has been little rigorous
empirical examination of eBay’s actual impact in patent litigation.6 This is
significant because the eBay decision—which was unanimous—contains two
2. See Colleen V. Chien & Mark A. Lemley, Patent Holdup, the ITC, and the Public Interest, 98
CORNELL L. REV. 1, 8 (2012) (“The Supreme Court’s 2006 decision in eBay represented a sea change
in patent litigation.” (footnote omitted)); Ryan Davis, Top 15 High Court Patent Rulings of the Past 15
Years, LAW360 (July 1, 2015, 8:27 PM), http://www.law360.com/articles/674205/top-15-high-court-
patent-rulings-of-the-past-15-years (ranking eBay as the second most important patent law decision since
3. A recent search of WestlawNext finds that eBay has been cited in over 2000 federal court
opinions. See Citing References for eBay Inc. v. MercExchange L.L.C., WESTLAWNEXT (last visited May 10,
2016); see also Dennis Crouch, Most Cited Supreme Court Patent Decisions (2005–2015), PATENTLY-O (Mar.
11, 2015), http://patentlyo.com/patent/2015/03/supreme-court-cases.html (listing eBay as the
second most cited U.S. Supreme Court patent case of the past decade).
4. For examples of significant eBay-related scholarshi p, see generally Andrew Beckerman-
Rodau, The Aftermath of eBay v. MercExchang e, 126 S. Ct. 1837 (2006): A Review of Subsequent
Judicial Decisions, 89 J. PAT. & TRADEMARK OFF. SOC’Y 631 (2007); Michael W. Carroll, Patent
Injunctions and the Problem of Uniformity Cost, 13 MICH. TELECOMM. & TECH. L. REV. 421 (2007);
Bernard H. Chao, After eBay, Inc. v. MercExchange: The Changing Landscape for Patent Remedies, 9
MINN. J.L. SCI. & TECH. 543 (2008); Chien & Lemley, supra note 2; Eric R. Claeys, The Conceptual
Relation Between IP Rights and Infringement Remedies, 22 GEO. MASON L. REV. 825 (2015); Vincenzo
Denicolò et al., Revisiting Injunctive Relief: Interpreting eBay in High-Tech Industries with Non-
Practicing Patent Holders, 4 J. COMPETITION L. & ECON. 571 (2008); Douglas Ellis et al., The
Economic Implications (and Uncertainties) of Obtaining Permanent Injunctive R elief After eBay v.
MercExchange, 17 FED. CIR. B.J. 437 (2008); Mark P. Gergen, John M. Golden & Henry E. Smith,
The Supreme Court’s Accidental Revolution? The Test for Permanent Injunctions, 112 COLUM. L. REV.
203 (2012); John M. Golden, “Patent Trolls” and Patent Remedies, 85 TEX. L. REV. 2111 (2007)
[hereinafter Golden, Patent Trolls]; John M. Golden, Principles for Patent Remedies, 88 TEX. L. REV.
505 (2010) [hereinafter Golden, Principles]; Ryan T. Holte, The Misinterpretation of eBay v.
MercExchange and Why: An Analysis of the Case History, Precedent, and Parties, 18 CHAP. L. REV. 677
(2015) [hereinafter Holte, Misinterpretation of eBay]; Ryan T. Holte, Trolls or Great Inventors: Case
Studies of Patent Assertion Entities, 59 ST. LOUIS U. L.J. 1 (2014) [hereinafter Holte, Trolls or Great
Inventors]; Sarah R. Wasserman Rajec, Tailoring Remedies to Spur Innovation, 61 AM. U. L. REV. 733
(2012); Doug Rendleman, The Trial Judge’s Equitable Discretion Following eBay v. MercExchange,
27 REV. LITIG. 63 (2007); and Karen E. Sandrik, Reframing Patent Remedies, 67 U. MIAMI L. REV.
5. See Gergen et al., supra note 4, at 205 (“[T]he four-factor test from eBay has, in many
federal courts, become the test for whether a permanent injunction should issue, regardless of
whether the dispute in question centers on patent law, another form of intellectual property,
more conventional government regulation, constitutional law, or state tort or contract law.”); see
also Shyamkrishna Balganesh, Demystifying the Right to Exclude: Of Property, Inviolability, and
Automatic Injunctions, 31 HARV. J.L. & PUB. POL’Y 593, 598–99 (2008) (discussing eBay’s impact
in real and personal property law); Jiarui Liu, Copyright Injunctions After eBay: An Empirical Study,
16 LEWIS & CLARK L. REV. 215, 218 (2012) (examining “how much the eBay decision has guided,
and should guide, copyright cases”).
6. See infra Part III.C (discussing the existing empirical work on this subject).