The two online measurement companies are locked in a patent infringement legal battle royale. Nielsen filed first on 3/16 the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, claiming comScore violated its patent rights. ComScore filed a countersuit 3/22 against Nielsen Holdings and its Netratings division also in a US District Court alleging infringement of patent rights, it revealed in a regulatory filing on Tuesday.
ComScore and Nielsen’s Netratings are the dominant online measurement sources that track the number of people and the amount of time they spend on some of the world’s most popular websites.
Both companies are seeking unspecified damages and injunctive relief.
“While we support vigorous competition in the marketplace, that competition must be fair and respect intellectual property rights,” Nielsen said in a statement. “Nielsen does not take such matters lightly and only after thorough analysis and consideration did we file this action. We look forward to a fair and appropriate resolution.”
Nielsen is pretty much targeting every product that comScore offers in the space. Excepted from the Nielsen filing: “This is an action for patent infringement arising under the patent laws of the United States, 35 U.S.C. §§271, el seq., to enjoin and obtain damages resulting from Defendant comScore, Inc.’s unauthorized manufacture, use, sale, offer to sell, and/or importation into the United States for subsequent use or sale of products, methods, processes, services, and/or systems that infringe one or more claims of the following patents:
a. United States Patent No. 6,115,680, issued on September 5, 2000, for “Computer Use Meter and Analyzer” (the ‘”680 patent” ), a true and correct copy of which is attached hereto as Exhibit A;
b. United States Patent No. 6,418,470, issued on July 9, 2002, for “Metering of Internet Content Using a Control” (the “‘470 patent”), a true and correct copy of which is attached hereto as Exhibit B;
c. United States Patent No. 7,376,722, issued on May 20, 2008, for “Network Resource Monitoring and Measurement System and Method” (the ‘”722 patent”), a true and correct copy of which is attached hereto as Exhibit C;
d. United States Patent No. 7,386,473, issued on June 10,2008, for “Content Display Monitoring by a Processing System” (the ‘”473 patent”), a true and correct copy of which is attached hereto as Exhibit D; and
e. United States Patent No. 7,613,635, issued on November 3, 2009, for “Content Display Monitor” (the “‘635 patent”), a true and correct copy of which is attached hereto as Exhibit E (collectively, the “Patents-in-Suit”).
Nielsen is the owner of all rights, title, and interest in the ‘680 patent, with the full and exclusive right to bring suit to enforce this patent and recover for past infringement.
10. The ‘680 patent relates to a system for monitoring computer use, and more particularly, a system for collecting, logging, and analyzing preselected operations in a personal computer and reporting the use.
11. Upon information and belief, in violation of 35 U.S.C. § 271, Defendant comScore has infringed and continues to infringe, has induced and continues to induce infringement, and/or has contributed and continues to contribute to the infringement of one or more claims of the ‘680 patent through at least the acts of making, using, selling, offering for sale, importing into the United States for subsequent use or sale infringing products and services, and/or providing products and services to third parties whose use of those products and services infringe the ‘680 patent. Defendant comScore’s infringing products and/or services include systems for monitoring computer use, and more particularly, systems for collecting, logging, and analyzing preselected operations in a personal computer and reporting the use. Defendant comScore’s infringing products and/or services include, without limitation, Media Metrix Suite, Media Metrix 360, Advertising Effectiveness (AdEffx) Suite, Ad Metrix Mobile, Benchmarking Studies, Customer Satisfaction Studies, e-Commerce Measurement, Mobile Advisor, Plan Metrix Mobile, Video Metrix 2.0, Video R/F, Media Metrix 2.0, Media Metrix XPC, Ad Metrix Publisher, Ad Metrix – Advertiser View, Brand Metrix, Campaign Metrix, Segment Metrix, World Metrix, Ad Sales Networks, Audience insite Measures 2.0, LocalScore, Local Market Reporting, Online Search Solutions, qSearch 2.0, Extended Web Measurement, U.S. Hispanic Services, Global Services, Custom Analysis, comScore Industry Solutions, comScore Marketing Solutions, other comScore products and/or services which include the aforementioned products and/or services, and other comScore products and/or services that include panelist monitoring software, such as but not limited to, RelevantKnowledge software.
12. As a result of Defendant comScore’s infringement, Nielsen has suffered, and will continue to suffer damages. Nielsen is entitled to recover from Defendant comScore the damages it has sustained as a result of Defendant comScore’s infringing acts in an amount subject to proof at trial. Nielsen is also entitled to its costs of suit and interest.
13. Unless Defendant comScore is enjoined by this Court from continuing its infringement of the ‘680 patent, Nielsen will suffer additional irreparable harm and impairment of the value of its patent rights and is, therefore, entitled to a permanent injunction against further infringement.”
The other specific patent infringements language was similarly worded.
Here is what ComScore filed with the SEC on Tuesday (3/22): “On March 16, 2011, comScore received notice that Nielsen filed a lawsuit against comScore in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia alleging, among other things, infringement of certain patent rights of Nielsen by comScore. Nielsen’s complaint seeks unspecified damages and injunctive relief. Based on an initial review of these claims, comScore believes that they are without merit. comScore continues to review the claims against it by Nielsen, as well as any defenses and additional potential counterclaims.
comScore has previously filed and been issued patents of its own, and comScore works diligently to conduct itself in a manner that is respectful of others’ intellectual property rights. comScore intends to vigorously protect its intellectual property and defend itself.”
The full countersuit by ComScore, however, is not yet in the court’s online system.
RBR-TVBR observation: If there is actually a clear winner down the road here, the battle for the currency of Internet advertising may also be won. Both companies’ data is used to set ad rates for the biggest online companies out there, based on the number of people visiting their sites.