WILMINGTON, Del. (Legal Newsline) - Technology giant IBM filed a lawsuit Monday against Priceline to stop the travel website from continuing to use its intellectual property without authorization.

IBM filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware. The named defendants include The Priceline Group Inc., Kayak Software Corp., OpenTable Inc. and priceline.com LLC -- collectively, Priceline.


“Priceline has built its business model on the use of IBM’s patents,” IBM’s 13-page complaint alleges. “Moreover, despite IBM’s repeated demands, Priceline refuses to negotiate a license.”


IBM is seeking damages for past infringement and a reasonable royalty going forward, or, alternatively, an injunction.


The lawsuit comes after more than three years of attempts by IBM to resolve its concerns with Priceline over the website's alleged patent infringement.


IBM contends that during that time it has made “repeated” trips to Priceline’s facilities and presented “detailed” examples to Priceline of its infringement.


“Priceline has refused to engage in any meaningful discussion on the merits, resorting instead to delay and non-responsive answers,” IBM’s complaint states.


The company alleges Priceline -- that is, the websites under Priceline’s control -- has willfully infringed and continues to infringe four key patents.


“We have filed this lawsuit against Priceline for a very simple reason -- IBM’s patents are being knowingly and unfairly exploited,” said Dr. William LaFontaine, general manager of intellectual property at IBM.


“Our preference is to engage in good faith negotiations and agree to a fair patent license, but when another company willfully uses our intellectual property, without permission through a license, we have no option but to protect and vigorously defend it through every means available.”


Leslie Cafferty, vice president for corporate communications at Priceline, declined to comment on the lawsuit.


IBM holds more than 43,000 active U.S. patents and has been awarded the most U.S. patents for 22 consecutive years. The company also has entered into more than 1,000 patent licensing agreements.


Wilmington law firm Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP is representing IBM in the case.


From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at patents@legalnewsline.com.

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