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EBay, Bank One Settle Lawsuits Over Patents

October 21, 2003|From Bloomberg News

EBay Inc. and Bank One Corp. on Monday settled lawsuits that each claimed the other had infringed patents for conducting financial transactions over the Internet.

Bank One sued San Jose-based EBay, the world's largest Web auctioneer, on Sept. 6, claiming patent infringement. EBay's PayPal unit countersued Sept. 29, claiming its online bill-payment system was being wrongly used. The suits were filed in federal court in Wilmington, Del.

Although settlement terms weren't announced, the companies said the agreement shouldn't have a material effect on operations or finances.

Internet sales are booming, with $43.5 billion in non-travel-related revenue last year and growing by as much as 25% this year, Christa Sober, an analyst at Thomas Weisel Partners in San Francisco, said when the PayPal suit was filed last month. Internet sales depend on the ability to make secure credit card transactions.

More than 63 million people logged on to EBay's Web site in August, according to Internet measurement firm ComScore Networks Inc.

A spokeswoman for Mountain View, Calif.-based PayPal said the company isn't releasing details of the settlement. Bank One spokesman Thomas Kelly said the settlement was "amicable to both sides," but declined to comment further.

Shares of EBay, which reported $1.21 billion in fiscal 2002 revenue, rose $1.74 to $56.60 on Nasdaq. The shares have gained 67% this year.

Chicago-based Bank One, the third-largest U.S. credit card issuer with $13.9 billion in revenue last year, rose 52 cents to $42.01 on the New York Stock Exchange. Bank One competes with Citigroup Inc., the largest U.S. credit card issuer, and MBNA Corp., the second largest.

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