The two weeks long legal battle between International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N) and e-commerce firm Groupon Inc (GRPN.O) has finally drawn to a closure with the former emerging victorious.
IBM secured $83 million, as a U.S. jury in Delaware had on Friday awarded to the tech giant as damages in the legal dispute for patent rights against the e-commerce company Groupon Inc (GRPN.O). IBM had claimed $167 million as damages.
The jury concluded that Groupon had willfully infringed on IBM’s e-commerce technology patent rights, as the ecommerce firm had deployed it for use without seeking authorization from IBM. The jury having declared the infringement as willful, had made IBM make a plea that the judge award extra charges.
In course of the litigation, lawyer for Groupon J. David Hadden had painted IBM as milking other tech companies dry form its outdated patents and had even threatened legal action. IBM lawyer John Desmarais in a plea to the jurors had stated that IBM was left with no option but to seek legal redress against Groupon who had failed to assume responsibility for using IBM’s foundational technology.
Groupon still believe it did not infringe any valid IBM patents
“IBM invests nearly $6 billion annually in research and development, producing innovations for society. We rely on our patents to protect our innovations. We are pleased by the jury’s verdict.” IBM spokesman Douglas Shelton said in a statement reacting to the judgment, according to Reuters. In what seems to be a reply to this statement, spokesman for Groupon, Bill Roberts said in a statement reacting to the judgment: “We continue to believe that we do not infringe on any valid IBM patents, to the extent these patents have any value at all — which we believe they do not — the value is far less than what the jury awarded.”
IBM with claims of having developed a widely licensed technology crucial to the development of the internet, with two of the patents relating to IBM’s late 1980s precursor to the web, Prodigy, had approached the court for an award of $167 million in damages. On the other hand, Groupon had argued that some of IBM’s patents should not have been granted because they describe obvious ideas, and said the computing company’s damages request was unreasonable.
It is on record that Armonk, New York-based IBM has secured more U.S. patents than any other company. This legal tussle was closely monitored by lots of tech enthusiasts and players in the tech industry because it was a case that showed how dogged IBM’s had been in it’s strive to license its large patent portfolio to other companies.
Testimonies from an IBM licensing executive reveals that IBM had earned from Amazon Inc (AMZN.O), Facebook Inc (FB.O), Alphabet Inc’s Google (GOOGL.O), LinkedIn and Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) royalties to the tune of $20 million to $50 million as part of cross-licensing deals that gave them access to the patent portfolio. In 2017 alone, IBM earned about $1.2 billion in revenue from its issued licenses. “The verdict is a vindication for IBM’s licensing program,” IBM’s lawyer John Desmarais said.