RealTime IT News

IBM Sues Amazon

It's Amazon.com. It's a patent lawsuit. What else is new?

Amazon, which has faced a series of patent lawsuits this decade and the last, today faces a new one, this time from IBM.

IBM today filed two suits in the Eastern District of Texas, alleging that Amazon has "willfully infringed" on at least five patents.

The disputed patents cover technology intrinsic to Amazon's e-commerce business: "Presenting Applications in an Interactive service," "Storing Data in an Interactive Network," "Presenting Advertising in an Interactive Service," "Adjusting Hypertext Links with Weighted User Goals and Activities," and "Adjusting Hypertext Links with Weighted User Goals and Activities."

In a statement, IBM said it's been almost four years since it first began talking to Amazon about the alleged patent infringements, but said agreements were never reached.

Amazon spokesperson Patricia Smith told internetnews.com her company had not yet received a copy of the lawsuit and could not comment on it.

"When someone takes our property, without our permission through a license, we have no option but to protect it through every means available to us," senior vice president of IBM Technology and Intellectual Property John E. Kelly III said in a statement.

For Amazon, patent-infringement attention is familiar territory.

In 2005 Amazon paid $40 million to settle.

Cendant Publishing alleged Amazon's recommendations system violated its patent in 2004.

The same year e-commerce software-maker Soverain Software sued Amazon over patent infringements.

Then, in 2003 Pinpoint sued Amazon over its personalization technology.

In 1999 Amazon sued Barnes and Noble over an alleged patent infringed. The companies didn't settle till 2002. That suit inspired open-source advocate Tim O'Reilly to offer a $10,000 reward to anyone who could demonstrate that Amazon's 1-Click patent was invented before Amazon's patent filing date.

But most recently, a disgruntled Amazon customer in New Zealand wrote to the U.S. patent Office to argue for a review of Amazon's 1998 "1-click" patent.

The Patent Office replied in August, saying that when it came to Amazon's e-commerce technology there was "a substantial question of patentability."

On that point, everyone seems to agree.