Amazon Countersues IBM on Patents

It’s like a classic schoolyard taunt: “I’m rubber, you’re glue! Whatever you say bounces of me and sticks to you!” Back in October, IBM filed two patent infringement lawsuits against Amazon.com, alleging key features of Amazon’s Web business—including customizing links, displaying customized ads, and ordering items from an electronic catalog—utilize patented IBM technologies.

Today, Amazon fired back in a countersuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, alleging IBM infringes on several Amazon.com patents and stolen the company’s intellectual property. Amazon alleges IBM’s WebSphere application server illegally uses Amazon.com technologies, as to other IBM information management systems.

Amazon argues it has already proven some of IBM’s patent claims were without merit, and cites a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office finding that IBM had concealed prior art, which would invalidate a parent. Amazon also argues some of the patents IBM accuses the online retailer of violating are overly broad and unenforceable. “IBM’s broad allegations of infringement amount to a claim that IBM invented the Internet,” says Amazon in its countersuit. “If IBM’s claims are believed, then not only must Amazon.com pay IBM, but everyone conducting electronic commerce over the World Wide Web (indeed, every Web site and potentially everyone who uses a Web browser to surf the Web) must pay IBM a toll for the right to do so.”

What does Amazon want? Damages, legal costs, and compensation for IBM’s infringement on its patents.

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