Dispute Origins between Ebay and Bidder’s Edge

Bidder’s Edge in its operations violated three basic principles that eBay’s customers do not violate when accessing this site. Firstly, eBay does not allow customers to use automated machines on its site. According to eBay (2005), it is illegal to use automated machines on its site. Automated machines include software robots also called spiders among others. These machines go through different WebPages, collect data and store it in a different database. Thus, one party benefits from the work of the other. In this case, Bidder’s Edge reaped from eBay’s efforts without paying for it.

Secondly, while customers use eBay to check on items on sale, Bidder’s Edge checked eBay’s site to acquire information and uses this information to make profits. Moreover, customers do not use eBay tool frequently as Bidder’s Edge did. Competition is good for any market to thrive and serve customers out rightly; however, companies or sellers should have a level playing ground. Companies should acquire their own competitive edge to maintain fairness and uphold business ethics. Unfortunately, Bidder’s Edge violated this basic principle by using eBay for personal gains.

Lastly, after eBay noticed that Bidder’s Edge was using automated tools to search its site and voiced their disapproval, Bidder’s Edge went on to use proxy machines to access eBay’s site. This brings up the issue of ethics in business world. While it is okay to use proxy machines to access sites, the involved parties should strike a deal on the issue. Bidder’s Edge tried to secure a deal but it never materialized. From the observations made, it is clear that the primary altercations between these two companies lied squarely on the modality Bidder’s Edge used to explore eBay’s database.

These issues mattered to eBay because of the impacts automated machines have on websites. These machines utilize processing resources and the memory of a machine or system making it inefficient in three ways. One, the resources underutilization of these automated machines becomes inaccessible to the other users. Two, these machines overloads the entire system making it slow and may make it “smash down”. Finally, these interruptions may cause data loss and affect other systems. This may lead to serious losses given the nature of the business that eBay conducts.

The traditional definition of trespass to personal property is to intentionally enter into personal property and cause harm. Even though entering or stepping on other peoples’ property knowingly may amount to trespass, there has to be evidence of damage caused by the victim of trespass. This evidence of damage is necessary to substantiate a trespass action (Putney, 1908).

The definition of trespass in this text does not differ from the California ruling. Ronald Whyte ruled that Bidder’s Edge actions amounted to trespass. Several factors about the traditional trespass abide in this case. Firstly, Ronald Whyte established that eBay’s serves were private and this is in line with the definition given above. Nevertheless, given the current definition, the California ruling was in line with trespass rules. Secondly, eBay categorically states in its user rights provision, that it prohibits the use of automated machines to access its site a provision that Bidders’ Edge violated. With provisions like the freedom to property ownership well elaborated in the constitution, the California North District Court Judge was within his mandate to make such a ruling and this conforms to the traditional trespass definition.


eBay. (2005). Your User Agreement. Web.

Putney, A. (1908). Popular Law Library Vol4 Torts, Damages, Domestic Relations. 2009. Web.

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