As the "patent" guy on the EIP team, I've been intrigued with the eBay case that was before the Supreme Court this year. As you can read elsewhere, the case was about the (mildly) narrow legal question of "is an injunction automatic in the case of infringement." I've got a longer post coming soon on the value of patents when they stand alone (that is, in the absence of a well-defined business case and commercialization assets beyond the patent), so I'm going to tread lightly for now.
Here's my read on the Court's unanimous decision that "went eBay's way" for now, but doesn't really affect matters except on the margin. First, a very quick synopsis so you don't have to review the case history if you don't have time.
Fact #1: Company X sues eBay for infringing a patent.
Fact #2: eBay is found to be infringing the patent
Fact #3: X wants eBay to stop and wants an injunction
Fact #4: eBay says "it's embedded into our system; we'll pay but not stop"
Fact #5: appeals court says: "once you're found guilty of infringement, if company X wants to force you to stop, that's their call and we have no leeway in the matter." So eBay must stop and no money can affect company X's rights to stop you.
So the question that the Supremes answered in their elegant way of avoiding bigger questions when smaller ones will do was to effectively say: "well, an injunction isn't automatic, it has to be weighed among certain factors." So, while eBay did win on the narrow question of an automatic injunction, the Supreme's really said the trial court has to decide if monetary damages are enough or if an injunction is warranted. So eBay may STILL face an injunction.
At a macro level, what eBay won was the ability for companies to avoid the ultimate blackmail/greenmail card that some patent trolls have used to pound a big player into submission. But eBay still faces the club. Think of it this way: the nuclear option is off the table, but the "end of life as you know it" card is still in play: the unknown of what COULD be handed down by the court (injunction or monster damages) is still out there. Only the very biggest players, with the very deepest pocketbooks vs. holders of the most fundamental patents will be affected by this ruling. And only on the margin. Yeah, some defendants might fight a little harder now, but I suspect they'll be few and far between. The risk of an adverse ruling is still higher than the cost to settle...
We're not in the infringement game -- we aim to create new products, not profit from someone infringing. So the eBay ruling has absolutely zero effect on EIP. But the case is interesting...