Bloomberg News

Apple, Groupon Are Said to Settle Patent Lawsuits With Walker

July 22, 2011

July 22 (Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. and Groupon Inc. were among the companies that agreed to pay more than $25 million combined to settle patent suits filed by Walker Digital LLC, a developer of e-commerce technology, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The litigation involved about a dozen patents and the settlement included licensing and a sale of some patents, said the people, who declined to be named because terms are private.

Many of the patents cover online commerce and marketing, areas the companies are pursuing to add features and lure users. Daily-deal purveyor Groupon is facing more lawsuits in the run- up to its planned initial public offering, while patents are taking on added currency as a way for technology companies to safeguard intellectual property.

“This is the next place for patent wars,” said Ron Laurie, managing director of patent consulting firm Inflexion Point Strategy LLC. in Palo Alto, California, in an interview, referring to social-media companies.

Steven Hofman, a spokesman for Stamford, Connecticut-based Walker Digital, said the company has settled cases with three companies, while declining to identify them.

Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, California- based Apple, and Julie Mossler, a spokeswoman for Chicago-based Groupon, declined to comment on whether outstanding cases involving Walker were settled.

--With assistance from Susan Decker in Washington. Editors: Lisa Rapaport, Nick Turner

To contact the reporter on this story: Olga Kharif in Portland, Oregon, at okharif@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Thomas Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net


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