back to article IBM menaces Twitter IPO with patent infringement BOMBSHELL

In the same SEC filing in which Twitter announced that it will boost its IPO share-price range to $23 to $25, up from $17 to $20, it also revealed a bit of news that may worry potential investors: a patent contretemps launched by IBM. "We recently received a letter from International Business Machines Corporation, or IBM, …


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  1. Herby

    And this is why...

    Software Patents should be tossed out. Right Now.

    It boils down to:

    "Anything you can do, I can do better".

    The arguments that follow "No you can't." and "Yes, I can." inevitably are a waste of time, money and effort!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Efficient retrieval of uniform resource locators"

    They appear to be claiming the most trivially obvious kind of URL-shortening service here.

  3. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Not that I'm usually in favor of s/w patents

    But anything lobbed at Twitter and/or Facebook is fine by me. Fire away, IBM.

  4. asdf


    Software patents are wrong but at least you can't say Big Blue is nothing but a patent troll. I believe their R&D budget is still more than their legal dept budget which you can't say about a lot of companies.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: well

      That is my thoughts. It would be interesting to know which other companies are already paying up for these. The URL patent seems a bit broad, so if that patent is holding water, Twitter can't be alone in having to work with them.

      But, right...violating a patent trolls patent is one thing, but violating I.B.M.'s patent is a whole different matter entirely (just ask SCO...if possible).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: well

      IBM is not using these three patents. How it is not a patent troll, if in this particular case only?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: well

        And you're evidence that IBM are *not* using these patents is based on what exactly?

      2. Lusty

        Re: well

        IBM do use these patents. They use them to make money in order to fund research and development into new products and ideas. They hold many patents for disk drives and CPU production - the microdrive came from their research into quantum storage. The research failed but they used what they learned to make a traditional drive platter fit into a CF slot. IBM do this all the time, and that is their business model.

        Patent trolls on the other hand, do no new research and charge for patents which they often bought in. IBM have probably done more for the industry than any other single company so if they want to profit from their work I say let them as long as they are genuine claims.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: well

        Nonsense, IBM have built URL shorteners in all sorts of products from Domino to Websphere ! Example, "This is the domain used by IBM's URL Shortener"

  5. Lusty


    That's the last thing you want before an IPO. One of the few companies that wouldn't actually need staff to remain profitable in the foreseeable future taking you to court for patent infringment. To be fair to IBM they did help to crush the wind out of Santa Cruz Operation so it's not like they are usually the evil ones.

    I'd imagine this would come down to how long Big Blue have ignored the infringements and whether they waited for the money to roll in. If they didn't defend for several years previous it could go either way.

    1. Vic

      Re: bummocks

      > To be fair to IBM they did help to crush the wind out of Santa Cruz Operation

      No they didn't.

      They crushed SCO. SCO was *not* the Santa Cruz Operation, despite what they might have wanted you to believe, they just bought a business from them.


  6. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Bring back Groklaw

    PJ would dissect this spat very well

    Unless of couse she is just a bunch of IBM Lawyers as SCO Alledged about 10 years ago. (Only joking)

    I guess IBM didn't want to feel left out what with the Rockstar patent suit.

  7. keep-it-calm-or-more

    I think twitter should make a fair deal

    Hey Twitter, just offer ibm a part of your "profit", if you ever make one ... :D

    ps. ibm - not nicely played here ...

  8. Brian Miller

    Just shut down the USPTO

    The USPTO is a bunch of buffoons. If this was done manually, would it be patentable? Really, shorthand and a ledger entry? But since it's a software patent, it's oh-so-unique to the world.

    How many times can a variation on a lookup be patentable? Shorturl, bitly, tinyurl,, and others all apparently infringe on that IBM patent. Are they paying? I have no idea.

    I remember when Microsoft got nailed with a patent lawsuit years back. Microsoft had bought an older patent, and implemented it. Then someone with a newer patent sued them for infringement, and won. The newer patent is infringed by the older patent? Huh?

    It's broken. It's all broken, and it's killing technology. However, I can't foresee the political situation that would result in getting the mess fixed. Maybe after world-wide civilization collapses and there's no electricity to run technology. Yeah, that's when all of this will be fixed.

  9. Bladeforce

    Scary thought but...

    We'll end up with just a few companies holding all the patents, then we will be in shit street. The all American global economy will have to start crumbling very soon

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Should we believe this at all

    Without a quote from Florien, is this really a valid patent dispute?

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