Innovation Asset Blog

Twitter's IPO marred by infringement claims from IBM

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Twitter announced it will be raising the price of its stocks in its initial public offering to the range of $23 to $25, from the previous range of $17 to $20. In the same filing, it announced it had received a letter from IBM alleging Twitter had infringed at least three U.S. patents held by the company. Famously, Twitter itself holds remarkably few patents, a state of affairs that many have said could jeopardize its IPO. In contrast, IBM holds an array of patents.

The company seems unconcerned with IBM's claims and their possible impact on the success of its IPO. "Based upon our preliminary review of these patents, we believe we have meritorious defenses to IBM's allegations, although there can be no assurance that we will be successful in defending against these allegations or reaching a business resolution that is satisfactory to us," the filing read. There is no indication what kind of resolution may be in the works, or what IBM hopes to gain. Commentary on TechCrunch suggests a settlement may include shares in Twitter, rather than a conflict that makes it to court.

Twitter's well-known stance on intellectual property rights, discussed previously in this space, is being tested by this allegation from IBM. How this conflict is settled may well determine how Twitter decides to handle its intellectual property portfolio in the future.

Peter Ackerman

Peter Ackerman

Founder & CEO, Innovation Asset Group, Inc.