updated 12:18 pm EST, Fri January 31, 2014
IBM patent buy by Twitter follows similar acquisitions by Google, Facebook
Twitter has acquired over 900 patents from IBM, with the two companies also agreeing to a patent cross-licensing deal, IBM has announced. Occurring in December and only just being announced today, the agreement also puts to an end a patent lawsuit by IBM, accusing Twitter of infringing on three patents before the micro-blogging service filed its IPO.
Financial terms of the deal were not provided by IBM, though Twitter Legal Director Ben Lee states "This acquisition of patents from IBM and licensing agreement provides us with greater intellectual property protection and gives us freedom of action to innovate on behalf of all those who use our service." Ken King, General Manager of IP for IBM, claimed the deal "illustrates the value of patented IBM inventions," and that the company was looking forward to a productive relationship with Twitter in the future.
IBM's lawsuit covered patents covering the "Efficient retrieval of uniform resource locators," a "Method for presenting advertising in an interactive service," and the "Programmatic discovery of common contacts." An initial amendment to an S-1 filing with the SEC saw Twitter claim it to have "meritorious defenses to IBM's allegations," though it was said that IBM had invited Twitter to "negotiate a business resolution."
IBM has previously sold 750 patents to Facebook in 2012, 1,030 patents to Google in 2011, and a further 217 to Google in 2012. The rest of the technology industry has also made similar moves to avoid patent lawsuits by bolstering their own defenses this week, with Qualcomm acquiring 1,400 patents from HP last Friday, and Google signing a multi-year patent licensing agreement with Samsung on Monday.