IBM sues Groupon for $167m alleging patent theft

IBM sues Groupon for $167m alleging patent theft

IBM is seeking $167m in compensation from Groupon, the e-commerce marketplace, over the alleged use of patented technology without authorisation.

The case is being heard at a federal court in Delaware where the jury is being asked to consider whether they agree with IBM’s contention that Groupon had employed IBM’s e-commerce technology without paying a license fee.

IBM contends that firms such as Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet are all said to make use of the same software, paying between $20 and $50m each for the right to do so but Groupon has challenged this analysis, arguing that the computer manufacturer is overreaching the scope of its patents.

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

Groupon’s legal representative hit back however, saying: “A key question for you in this case is whether these patents cover the world wide web. They do not and that is because IBM did not invent the world wide web.”

IBM first sued Groupon back in 2016 alleging infringement of four patents; two of which related to a system for showing applications and advertisements first developed in the eighties to reduce server loads. Another patent concerned ‘single sign on’ that enables customers to log-in to a merchants website without the need to use a Facebook or Google account.

IBM recently made headlines with its Watson artificial intelligence software, which has been demonstrating its artistic flair for the Wimbledon Championships.

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