In eBay v. MercExchange, the Supreme Court correctly rejected a one-size-fits-all approach to patent injunctions. However, the Court's opinion does not fully recognize that the problem of uniformity in patent law is more general and that this problem cannot be solved through case-by-case analysis. This Essay provides a field guide for implementing eBay using functional analysis and insights from a uniformity-cost framework developed more fully in prior work. While there can be no general rule governing equitable relief in patent cases, the traditional four factor analysis for injunctive relief should lead the cases to cluster around certain patterns that often will have an industry-specific cast. This Essay identifies these patterns and summarizes the guideposts that courts and litigants should look for when conducting the traditional analysis in patent cases.
Carroll, Michael W. “Patent Injunctions and the Problem of Uniformity Cost.” Michigan Telecommunications and Technology Law Review 13, no. 2 (Spring 2007): 421-443.