The Supreme Court decision today in favor of Ebay in the MercExchange case is an important one. The justices decided that judges do have leeway to withhold injunctive relief in patent cases — the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit had held that injunctions were mandatory — and it struck down the prior CAFC decision.
That’s the good news. It makes it clearer that patent bandits can’t simply sue and default expect to hold deeper-pocketed sorts ransom. That’s progress.
But there’s bad news. And that is that the Supremes wimped out and handed the case back to the lower courts without clear direction on how to reconcile the injunction issue. Yes, the four-factor test still holds, but misapplication of it led to the prior injunction: How will that change on it being remanded?