International Business Machines (IBM), the American multinational technology company has been awarded $82.5 million by a U.S. jury after it found Groupon Inc. to have infringed four e-commerce patents of IBM.
For the record, IBM is a holder of more than 45,000 patents and the recent verdict came as a blessing to intellectual-property licensing business of the company, the one that brought $1.19 billion to IBM in 2017. IBM accused Groupon of developing its online coupon business on the basis of the IBM e-commerce inventions without buying a license to do so and sued the company for $167 million. Jurors sided with IBM by middle of the first day of deliberations in Wilmington, Delaware. The ruling entails that if found appropriate the judge can also decide to offer additional damages award.
Doug Shelton, IBM spokesperson reportedly said that IBM, which invests around $6 billion annually in research and development programs, relies heavily on patents to protect its innovations. Groupon’s patent infringement naturally means heavy losses for IBM. Bill Roberts, spokesperson for Groupon however has been reported to say that Groupon is still of the opinion that the company did not infringe any valid IBM patent and is therefore considering the options for an appeal and post-trial motions. He added that even in the case that any patent by IBM has been infringed, the value of those patents would be far less than what the jury awarded in favor of IBM.
Two of the patents in question are related to Prodigy online service which predated the web after it commenced in the 1980s. Another patent, that expires in 2025, is related to authentication and a fourth is related to conversation between server and client information preservation. IBM argues that companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc., pay from $20 million to $50 million for licenses to use thousands of patents owned by IBM, however, Groupon refrained from doing the same.
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