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Tech Industry

Coolsavings settles patent suit

Rival marketing firm IQ.com acknowledges the validity of Coolsavings' patent and agrees to pay a royalty to license the company's technology.

Coolsavings.com has settled another patent dispute.

The Chicago-based online marketing company announced Wednesday that it settled a lawsuit against rival marketing firm IQ.com. As part of the settlement, Saratoga, Calif.-based IQ.com acknowledged the validity of Coolsavings' patent and agreed to pay a royalty to license Coolsavings' technology.

The settlement is only the latest for Coolsavings, which has filed at least eight patent infringement lawsuits.

"These lawsuits were filed to protect our intellectual property," said Robert Gorman, executive vice president and general counsel at Coolsavings. "All these lawsuits recognize the validity of our patent, and in almost every one of these cases, revenue is falling back to us. There's value in our intellectual property."

IQ.com is glad to have the suit behind it, said IQ chief technology officer Carl Meyer. "Now each of us is able to focus on our businesses," he said.

Coolsavings and IQ.com declined to disclose the financial details of the settlement, but Gorman said that IQ.com's royalty payments will not be "material" to the company's revenues in the near term.

Coolsavings sued IQ.com in 1998, alleging that it had infringed on Coolsavings' patent covering electronic coupon systems.

The settlement comes five months after Coolsavings settled a similar suit against Planet U. Of the other suits the online marketing company has filed, it has settled five. Coolsavings' outstanding suits are against BrightStreet.com, Catalina Marketing and Hot Coupons.

The settlement also comes days after a U.S. district judge dismissed a patent dispute between Priceline.com and Marketel International. Marketel had accused the "name your price" site of stealing its business method and patenting it.

Patent disputes have grown increasingly common among e-commerce players. Priceline, for instance, is embroiled in a patent lawsuit with Microsoft-backed Expedia.com. And Amazon.com has sued Barnes&Noble.com over alleged patent infringement.