Twitter announced today that it has acquired over 900 patents from IBM, and that it has entered into a cross-licensing agreement with the Internet services and software company. IBM had issued a complaint against Twitter previously for patent infringement, as reported in an S-1 filing ahead of the social network’s IPO late last year.
IBM was seeking a settlement according to that document, and while Twitter appeared ready to defend itself, potentially in court, this deal today indicates that instead the two companies have come to an agreement that involves Twitter buying some of IBM’s intellectual property. In the original filing, IBM had cited “at least three” patents it suggested Twitter infringed upon, so the scope of this deal is obviously much broader.
This is a song we’ve heard before: Facebook acquired 750 IBM patents back in March 2012, just ahead of its own IPO. That patent trove was designed to fend off infringement accusations coming from Yahoo, however, rather than IBM. IBM also sold 1,000 patents to Google back in 2010, and the one-time PC maker is still the leading patent holders in the world, having held 6,809 patents as of earlier this month, followed by Samsung at a distant second with 4,676 patents. The patents involve appear to deal with social media content monitoring, social engagement and authority tools, location based network, and archiving content to name just a few, based on search of the USPTO patent database.