Twitter Makes Peace With IBM In Patent Deal

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Twitter will buy 900 patents and sign a cross-licensing agreement with IBM following settlement of dispute

Twitter and IBM have signalled an end to their patent dispute with a major deal between the two companies, involving a cross-licensing agreement and the sale of around 900 patent from Big Blue to the social network. No financial terms of the deal were disclosed.

“This acquisition of patents from IBM and licensing agreement provide us with greater intellectual property protection and give us freedom of action to innovate on behalf of all those who use our service,”  said Ben Lee, Twitter’s legal director.

“We are pleased to reach this agreement with Twitter because it illustrates the value of patented IBM inventions and demonstrates our commitment to licensing access to our broad patent portfolio,” added en King, General Manager of Intellectual Property for IBM. “We look forward to a productive relationship with Twitter in the future,” K said of the new deal.”

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The dispute began last November, just before Twitter released its initial public offering, when IBM accused Twitter of infringing three of its patents.

IBM is the largest holder of technology patents in the world, having led the annual list of US patent recipients for the last 21 consecutive years with around 41,000 patents, and has signed similar deals with the likes of Google and Facebook in the past.

Twitter, on the other hand, holds relatively few patents, something this deal should change. At the time of its IPO, Twitter held only nine patents, with 95 pending applications, far fewer than other leading technology companies.

IBM has looked to offload several of its services recently as the company looks to refocus its strategies. Last month, it announced it would be selling its x86 server business to Chinese PC manufacturer Lenovo for $2.3 billion (£1.4bn), with the deal also seeing 7,500 IBM workers leave the company for the new owner.

The capital gained from these deals will help IBM as it looks to invest into several new areas. The company announced last month that it would be investing more than $1 billion into the new IBM Watson Group as it looks to develop a division dedicated solely to the development and commercialisation of cloud-delivered cognitive innovations. It also recently announced that it would be spending $1.2 billion to expand its global cloud computing footprint to 40 data centres worldwide in 15 countries across five continents.

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