Posted by: Rob Hof on October 23, 2006
After years of fruitless negotiations, IBM has sued Amazon.com for violating five patents that IBM claims are the foundation for Amazon’s entire business. Investors yawned, probably for good reason, since these disputes tend to get settled well before they threaten the livelihood of any significant company. It’s certainly ironic that Amazon, often criticized for the broadness of its One-Click checkout system, is now the subject of a lawsuit involving such broad patents—doubly ironic given that IBM and Amazon have both called for various levels of patent reform. It’s certainly significant that IBM, which apparently doesn’t need to file these suits very often, has come out with guns blazing at Amazon. But I’m betting this will end several months or years from now, long past the time investors stopped thinking about it, with Amazon quietly paying up.