Reuters, citing court proceedings late last week, reported that a jury in Delaware found Groupon violated IBM’s patent that had to do with eCommerce. “IBM invests nearly $6 billion annually in research and development, producing innovations for society,” IBM spokesman Douglas Shelton said in a statement to Reuters. “We rely on our patents to protect our innovations. We are pleased by the jury’s verdict.” According to Reuters, the jury found Groupon willfully infringed on IBM’s patent. “We continue to believe that we do not infringe on any valid IBM patents,” Groupon spokesman Bill Roberts said in a statement. “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 had been seeking $167 million from Groupon. Earlier this month Reuters reported IBM lawyer John Desmarais argued in front of a jury in federal court in Delaware that Groupon infringed on eCommerce patents that had been licensed previously to Amazon, Facebook and Google for $20 million to $50 million for each company. “Most big companies have taken licenses to these patents,” Desmarais said. “Groupon has not. The new kid on the block refuses to take responsibility for using these inventions.” But Groupon’s lawyer, J. David Hadden, saw it differently, arguing that IBM claimed it owned the building blocks of the Internet and was overestimating what its patent covers, reported Reuters. “A key question for you, in this case, is whether these patents cover the world wide web,” Hadden told jurors, according to the report. “They do not, and that is because IBM did not invent the world wide web.” The trial included testimony from an IBM executive about licensing deals with other tech players. Reuters noted that testimony gave the world a look into how IBM patents and licenses its technology.