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IBM awarded $82.5M after Groupon is found to infringe on its e-commerce patents

The suit covered four IBM patents.


A federal jury in Delaware awarded IBM $82.5 million after finding that deals site Groupon had infringed on e-commerce patents owned by the technology giant, according to a lawyer for IBM,

The jury found Groupon's actions to be willful infringement of IBM's patents, John Desmarais, IBM's lead attorney said in an interview. Groupon may be required to pay IBM's legal fees depending on the results of a post-trial hearing.

The jury's decision is the culmination of a 2-year-old case that revolved around Groupon's use of technology that's covered by four IBM patents. Among them is a patent covering "single sign in" technology and a system for alleviating server overloads.

"It's a vindication for the strength of IBM's e-commerce portfolio," Desmarais said of the jury's decision. 

Still, the award is smaller than the $167 million IBM asked for two weeks ago. IBM defended its request, saying that Amazon, Facebook and Google had all licensed its e-commerce technology for between $20 million and $50 million each.

"IBM invests nearly $6 billion annually in research and development, producing innovations for society," said IBM spokesman Doug Shelton in an email statement. "We rely on our patents to protect our innovations. We are pleased by the jury's verdict."

Groupon, for its part, said it still doesn't believe it infringed on IBMs patents and will consider filing post-trial motions or an appeal. 

"We continue to believe in the strength of our case and will continue to assert it in the courts," said Groupon spokesman Bill Roberts. 

During the trial, Groupon said IBM's assertions were based on "old and inapplicable portions of its patent portfolio" and said IBM was overreaching.

"Groupon attempted to distract the jury with a smokescreen,"said Desmarais.

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