IMX v. Lending Tree 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1972 District of Delaware, decided Jan. 10, 2007 Judge Robinson Download pdf here. In a very lengthy decision, the District of Delaware denied a permanent injunction, among other things, citing eBay. A jury found that Lending Tree literally infringed IMXÃ¢â?¬â?¢s Ã¢â?¬Ë?947 patent. IMX first filed a motion for entry of a permanent injunction a year ago (Jan. 30, 2006). The ruling on the motion was postponed until after the eBay decision came out (May 15, 2006). The eBay decision may have caught IMX off guard because, as Judge Robinson states:
Plaintiff, however, put forward no evidence of irreparable harm resulting from defendant’s infringement, for example, market or financial data, to support its sweeping statements.
What evidence did IMX present for irreparable harm? This is found in footnote 23 which reads in full:
Plaintiff cites to several recent statements by LendingTree executives in its briefing in support of the proposition that defendant intends to “increase” its infringing activities notwithstanding the jury’s verdict. (D.I. 274 at 4) Plaintiff cites a statement that LendingTree has completed 50% more Qualification Forms for potential borrowers than in the same quarter a year ago. (D.I. 274, ex. A) Further, defendant has publicly stated that: This case will have no meaningful effect on how our lenders and customers interact with LendingTree. LendingTree will continue to provide the same level of quality service to both consumers and lenders. The fundamentals of our consumer protection will remain the same – consumers will continue to use the LendingTree marketplace to find lenders that will compete for their business. (D.I. 261, ex. A) Though these statements appear to support plaintiff’s argument insofar as defendant intends to maintain the status quo, they do not appear to support plaintiff’s argument that defendant plans to “increase” its infringing activity.
Judge Robinson thought the evidence was clearly insufficient so the permanent injunction was denied. The Delaware IP Blog points out Ã¢â?¬Å?Ultimately, the question whether eBay will hamper the frequency in which permanent injunctions have previously been issued must wait for another day: in its Order, the Court granted IMX leave to renew once any appeal on the liability phase is resolved.Ã¢â?¬Â? For more analysis, this case was nicely covered by Peter ZuraÃ¢â?¬â?¢s Two-Seventy-One Blog.