IBM accuses Twitter of infringing its patents

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Twitter has updated its S-1 document to reveal that IBM has accused the company of infringing at least three of its US patents.

The complaint specifically mentions patents regarding the way they present advertising, discover shared contacts, and retrieve URLs.

The accusation was made in the form of a letter instead of a lawsuit, with IBM inviting Twitter “to negotiate a business resolution of the allegations.” It also comes at a time when Twitter increased its IPO estimate from US$17 to US$20 per share to US$23 to US$25, an indication that Twitter expects a strong turnout despite the note from IBM.

While the S-1 filing shows that IBM is eyeing a settlement, Twitter also appears to be ready to defend itself, stating that “we have meritorious defenses to IBM’s allegations, although there can be no assurance that we will be successful in defending against these allegations or reaching a business resolution that is satisfactory to us.”

IBM is known for turning its patents into a huge licensing machine. The company is not afraid to utilise patents gained during pre-internet research to browbeat various internet firms. In 2006, for example, IBM filed a lawsuit against Amazon, which was settled the following year.

Twitter has said that it will only use its patents for defensive purposes. In fact, the company only owns nine patents, which is a stark contrast to the thousands held by IBM.


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