Groupon settles patent suit with IBM for $57m

Groupon resolves infringement claims and agrees to license future IBM e-commerce patents following two-year-long dispute


IBM has settled its two-year-long patent suit with Groupon, with the e-commerce company agreeing to pay the IT giant $57m. The case, which was first initiated in March 2016, covers both a patent infringement case against Groupon and the cost of licensing future IBM e-commerce patents.

IBM was initially awarded $83m in July 2018 after it won its case against Groupon in court. However, following the ruling, Groupon argued that the patents were too old for it to be deemed guilty of infringing upon them, stating that it would possibly appeal the decision or apply to pay a lower sum – a move which has proven to be successful.

IBM hold the most technology patents in the world with more than 45,000 currently under its hold, and made $1.2bn from its intellectual properties alone in 2017. IBM alleged that Groupon had violated four of its e-commerce patents and had initially sought $167m in damages.

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Following the settlement, Groupon vice-president of global communication Bill Roberts said in a statement: "The license we have acquired to IBM's patent portfolio will enable Groupon to continue to build amazing products for consumers and small businesses around the world.

"We look forward to sharing these products directly with IBM employees," he added.

Roberts' comments related to another consequence of the settlement ­– that IBM would "consider" offering its employees Groupon products as part of a new corporate benefits package.

"IBM invests more than $5bn annually in research and development," commented Dr. William Lafontaine, general manager of intellectual property at IBM, in a statement.

"This agreement further demonstrates the value of our intellectual property that results from this innovation. We're pleased this matter has been resolved," he added.

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