Date
16 October 2018
IBM says it had no choice but to sue Groupon after the latter refused to negotiate a licensing deal related to some technology. Photo: Bloomberg
IBM says it had no choice but to sue Groupon after the latter refused to negotiate a licensing deal related to some technology. Photo: Bloomberg

IBM seeks US$167 mln in patent dispute with Groupon

International Business Machines Corp (IBM) has sought US$167 million in a lawsuit against Groupon after accusing the e-commerce marketplace operator of infringement of patented technology.

An IBM lawyer told a jury in a court in Delaware on Monday that Groupon infringed patents describing foundational e-commerce technology that had been licensed to some big tech firms for between US$20 million and US$50 million per company, Reuters reports. 

“Most big companies have taken licenses to these patents,” lawyer John Desmarais said. “Groupon has not. The new kid on the block refuses to take responsibility for using these inventions.” 

Groupon lawyer J. David Hadden argued that IBM was over-reading the scope of its patents and claiming ownership of building blocks of the internet. 

“A key question for you in this case is whether these patents cover the world wide web,” Hadden told jurors. “They do not and that is because IBM did not invent the world wide web.” 

An IBM executive is expected to testify during the two-week trial about licensing deals with technology companies like Amazon and Google, Reuters said. 

IBM sued Groupon in 2016, alleging infringement of four patents. 

Two of the four patents at issue relate to Prodigy, a late-1980s forerunner to the internet, developed by IBM and others, that describes a system for showing applications and advertisements that reduces server loads, according to the report. 

IBM also said it patented so-called “single sign on” technology that allows consumers to log in to a retailer’s website with their Facebook or Google account. 

Desmarais told jurors IBM is a prolific innovator and seeks to license its patents on reasonable terms.

IBM had no choice but to sue Groupon after it refused to negotiate a licensing deal, he said. 

Hadden countered that IBM was unreasonably seeking money from every significant internet company. 

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CG/RC

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