Impact of eBay on Injunctive ReliefJuly 20, 2015

Both preliminary and permanent injunctions can be crucial forms of relief in any patent case. In addition to preventing continuing infringement of a patent, an injunction puts the patent holder in a much better bargaining position for future licensing negotiations. In its eBay decision in 2006, the Supreme Court required lower courts to apply a four-part common law test for granting injunctive relief. Prior to this decision, the common perception was that injunctions in patent cases were given as a matter of course. Following the Court’s decision, there have been concerns that the district courts have over-reacted and the number of injunctions issued in patent cases has reduced substantially. 

An new article by Kirti Gupta and Jay P. Kesan examines the number of injunction motions and injunction grants in patent cases both pre and post eBay. The work, titled Studying the Impact of eBay on Injunctive Relief in Patent Cases, provides exhaustive analysis of patent cases filed in United States District Courts from 2000-2012 when there was a motion for either a preliminary or a permanent injunction.  

Among the various conclusions drawn from the data is the fact that the percentage of injunctions granted since the eBay decision is substantially the same as before thedecision for both preliminary and permanent injunctions. However, it is notable that the percentage of patent cases seeking an injunction has reduced dramatically since the decision in 2006. Considering the combined effects of the percentage of injunctions moved for and the percentage of injunctions actually granted, the authors found a substantial decrease in the overall number of injunctions granted as a percentage of all patent cases, as shown in the figure reproduced below.

These results indicate that the change in the standard for granting injunctions in patent cases has significantly impacted the use of injunctive relief.  Despite the decreases in the number of injunctions sought and granted, however, injunctions remain an important aspect of intellectual property protection.  

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