Online book pioneer Amazon has settled a number of outstanding patent lawsuits – some dating back to 2002 – with IBM for an undisclosed sum. But, given that the two parties have also agreed to a long-term cross-licensing deal, many wags have speculated that the settlement is in the tens, if not hundreds, of millions.

In veiled statements of satisfaction from both camps, Amazon said that the new agreement gave it "greater freedom to innovate", while Big Blue blandly stated that it looked forward to a "more productive relationship" between the two companies than they had in the past.
Computerworld says that after failed licensing talks initiated in 2002, IBM finally sued Amazon last October for infringement on a number of its patents including some related to storing data in an interactive network, adjusting hypertext links with weighted user goals and activities, and ordering items using an electronic catalogue.
In December, Amazon countersued claiming its patents were infringed by IBM's WebSphere application server.
Amazon also said IBM's patent claims were so broad as to be ridiculous because they would potentially cover everyone using a Web browser to surf the Web. It also pointed out that IBM had waited for seven years after Amazon launched its online store, finally approaching the Internet company just as it became profitable.
For the time being, it seems, the only losers will be the vendors' corporate lawyers.