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Does IBM Have a Toll Booth on the Internet?

By John | July 8, 2007

About six months ago I received a call from an executive recruiter asking me if I would like to be an expert witness in an IBM lawsuit.  I was thinking how cool, IBM finally really likes me. Wrong,¦ It was the other side. At that point I hadn’t even heard of any big lawsuit involving IBM. The recruiter explained that Amazon had filed a counter suit against IBM and some topics related to Tivoli might come up (Who knows and I really didn’t want to know). Before, I go too much further I should assure my IBM friends that I turned this ($very lucrative$) opportunity down.  I know where my bread is buttered.

After the call I decided to research the issue and found some interesting information about the suit. On 23 2006 IBM filed two patent infringement lawsuits against  The lawsuit stems from 18 year old patents acquired in 1988 when it owned Prodigy. Since around 2002 IBM has been asking hundreds of companies to license five e-commerce patents. Â In 2006 Amazon basically said no and IBM filed their lawsuit. In October, November, and December 2006 there was a flurry of articles claiming this lawsuit was tantamount to a toll booth on the internet. I let you do your own research but my interpretation of one of IBM’s patents Method for presenting advertising in an interactive service” looks to my non-patent attorney trained eyes as any web page that has an advertisement in one spot and some information in another. Don’t take my word for it read some of the titled links below with titles like:

  • IBM’s Amazon Lawsuit Using Classic Schoolyard Bully Tactics
  • The data is not disclosed but it is my theory that a lot of companies had been ignoring IBM’s patent claims since 2002 and IBM went after the biggest eTailor fish of them all. At first it looked like Amazon was going to put a stake in ground and they counter sued IBM. In 2007 the internet was basically quit on the subject.  Recently I noticed on the IBM site that the two companies settled for an undisclosed amount of money that Amazon has to pay to IBM. Â That sounds to me as if IBM won. So after all this hubabaloo from all the analysts and experts in 2006 and all the silence in 2007 I still think there is a simple question that has gone un-answered. Does IBM Have a Toll Booth on the Internet?,1895,2035884,00.asp,1895,2036230,00.asp,1895,2036230,00.asp

    Topics: amazon, ibm, legal, tivoli | 6 Comments »

    6 Responses to “Does IBM Have a Toll Booth on the Internet?”

    1. IBM and Time Warner Patent Pact | John M Willis - ESM BLOG Says:
      August 3rd, 2007 at 7:44 am

      [...] See  Does IBM Have a Toll Booth on the Internet? [...]

    2. A hour with IBM's top intellectual property lawyer | John M Willis - ESM BLOG Says:
      August 13th, 2007 at 4:46 pm

      [...] 3)      I think it’s someone ironic that IBM would say that patents in IT are too easy.  (See Does IBM Have a Toll Booth on the Internet?) [...]

    3. The IBM Amazon Missing Link at John M Willis Says:
      December 17th, 2007 at 12:05 pm

      [...] Does IBM Have a Toll Booth on the Internet? [...]

    4. IBM Break the Metaverse Barrier | IT Management and Cloud Blog Says:
      July 8th, 2008 at 11:24 pm

      [...] certain they will try and patent  this and  in 5 to ten year from now they will not only have a toll booth on the internet but on the metarverse as [...]

    5. IBM v Apple in the Law-o-Sphere | IT Management and Cloud Blog Says:
      November 8th, 2008 at 8:53 am

      [...] blow over in a few weeks. My guess is that IBM and Apple will settle something behind closed doors (see IBM v Amazon), My only point in this rant is that is very dangerous for anyone, lawyers or technologists, to [...]

    6. Cloud Droplets #42 Monday is a Great Day for a Cloud Press Release | IT Management and Cloud Blog Says:
      January 14th, 2009 at 10:00 am

      [...] Does IBM Have a Toll Booth [...]