Regulation

Groupon Is Suing 'Dial-Up Dinosaur' IBM For Patent Infringement

Groupon is taking IBM to court, alleging that the firm infringed upon a Groupon patent relating to tech that makes it easy for businesses to solicit customers by using their location as a starting point.

That filing on Monday (May 9) follows — by two months — a suit filed by IBM that also alleges patent infringement.

"IBM is trying to shed its status as a dial-up-era dinosaur" by stepping on the rights of "current" tech companies, such as Groupon, noted Groupon spokesman Bill Roberts.

"This countersuit is totally without merit," responded Doug Shelton, an IBM spokesman.

The legal battle concerns IBM's WebSphere Commerce platform.

Groupon says the WebSphere platform allows users to contact GPS-enabled devices based on their real-time locations and their use of social media, including Facebook. The issue at hand is that Groupon has a 2010 patent that relates to that service and is claiming it is owed "billions of dollars" in revenue that IBM has made via that infringement.

"IBM, a relic of once-great 20th century technology firms, has now resorted to usurping the intellectual property of companies born this millennium," Groupon said in its lawsuit.

On March 2, IBM accused Groupon in a federal lawsuit in Delaware of infringing four patents, including two related to Prodigy, a late-1980s forerunner to the Internet.

"Over the past three years, IBM has attempted to conclude a fair and reasonable patent license agreement with Groupon, and we are disappointed that Groupon is seeking to divert attention from its patent infringement by suing," Shelton said.

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