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Judge Throws Out Ebay Antitrust Lawsuit

The most visited U.S. e-commerce site, EBay Inc., no longer faces a lawsuit by three sellers claiming it monopolizes the online auctions market and the method to pay for goods bought there. The judge ruled the sellers failed to show that they -- or anyone else -- had been injured by EBay’s alleged behavior.

In the suit, EBay was accused of anti-competitive behavior, including the acquirement of the PayPal peer-to-peer payment service in 2002. Paypal, purchased by EBay for $1.18 billion, processed more than 40 percent of the $52 billion in merchandise sold on EBay in 2006, the year before Michael Malone of Texas first filed the lawsuit.

The sellers sought class-action, or group status, and a finding that EBay violated antitrust laws and illegally restrained trade, plus an award for unspecified money damages. The group was forced to pay “artificially inflated and supra-competitive fees to EBay,” according to a consolidated complaint filed in May 2007.

“We are gratified that the court rejected plaintiffs’ claim as baseless,” EBay Deputy General Counsel Mary Huser said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. “With this meritless suit behind us, we can continue to focus on our core business of providing platforms that bring buyers and sellers together to transact online.”

“Plaintiffs challenge virtually everything that EBay has ever done,” the company said in court papers asking Fogel to throw out the lawsuit. “Every one of the acts identified by plaintiffs crosses no antitrust line.”


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