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IBM Objects To Amazon's Motion To Consolidate Patent Infringement Suits

The two cases involve patents that have different origins, different inventors, different claims, different uses and cover different infringing activity by Amazon, IBM says.
IBM's two patent infringement suits against Amazon.com are separate and distinct cases and Amazon's request to consolidate the claims into a single action because of similarities should be denied, IBM said in a court filing.

"Such overlap does not exist unless the two cases involve the same patents, or at least related patents," IBM said in court documents filed on Tuesday. "The two groups of patents have different origins, different inventors, different claims, different uses and cover different infringing activity by Amazon," IBM goes on to say.

Amazon.com has accused IBM of filing patent suits against it in two separate Texas courthouse divisions in order "to get two bites at the proverbial apple" and filed a motion in December to consolidate the cases.

IBM sued Amazon for patent infringement on Oct. 23, accusing the online retailer of violating a broad swath of IBM patents that govern methods for doing business over the Web. IBM split the action into two cases, one filed in U.S. District Court for Eastern Texas' Lufkin division and one in the Tyler division.

Amazon, which has filed a countersuit against IBM, says the action was nothing more than legal move designed to increase IBM's chances of prevailing before at least one of "two separate judges and two separate Texas juries," according to Amazon's motion.

Amazon wants the cases to be combined into a single action to be heard in the Tyler division. "If IBM's tactics are accepted, then why would the parties stop at only two courthouses -- why not file another complaint in Marshall, an additional one in Texarkana, and then perhaps another in Beaumont for good measure," Amazon states in its motion.

A judge has yet to rule on Amazon's motion for consolidation.

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