IBM files patent infringement lawsuit against

25 Oct 2006

(Associated Press via NewsEdge) IBM alleged in two lawsuits that important components of's massive retailing Web site were developed and patented many years earlier at IBM.

Amazon, which this year expects to sell $10 billion worth of everything from books and CDs to pet supplies and jewelry, is accused of infringing on five IBM patents.

IBM says the technologies covered by the patents govern how the site recommends products to customers, serves up advertising and stores data.

Some of the patents were first filed in the 1980s, when IBM created back-end technology for Prodigy, an early online service that grew out of a joint venture between IBM and Sears, Roebuck & Co. One such patent was titled 'Ordering Items Using an Electronic Catalog.'

'Given that time frame, these are very fundamental inventions for e-commerce and how to do it on the network,' said John E. Kelly III, IBM's senior vice president for intellectual property. 'Much, if not all, of Amazon's business is built on top of this property.'

Hundreds of other companies have licensed the same patents, and IBM has tried to negotiate licensing deals with Amazon 'over a dozen times since 2002,' Kelly said. Seattle-based Amazon has refused every time 'while pretending to desire resolution,' the lawsuits state.

Amazon declined to comment.

IBM is not specifying the damages it seeks.

It filed its lawsuits in federal court in the Eastern District of Texas, one in Tyler and one in Lufkin. Texas has become a frequent site for patent cases because districts there move quickly and are perceived as relatively responsive to intellectual-property claims.

© 2006 The Associated Press

© 2006 Dialog, a Thomson business. All rights reserved

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