March 22, 2011 6:54am PT by Eriq Gardner
Nielsen Sues ComScore in Fight Over Web Traffic Measurement (Exclusive)
The battle between firms keeping score of Internet traffic is heating up as The Nielsen Company has just filed a lawsuit against ComScore for violating five patents relating to the collection, analysis and reporting of information concerning computer activity.
The complaint was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Virginia. Nielsen charges that ComScore's various products infringe upon its patents, including one for a "Computer Use Meter and Analyzer."
Ironically, Nielsen was once itself sued over this same patent by Jupiter Media Metrix. In 2002, the parties came to a settlement whereby Nielsen/NetRatings gave Jupiter a $15 million cash infusion in exchange for the patents in question.
Three years later, Nielsen began looking to protect its Web analytics turf, bringing lawsuits against at least four other companies. Since then, it's been relatively quiet, but as the measurement of Internet traffic holds greater sway over the decisions of advertisers and marketers, two of the larger companies in the business are now vying with each other over valuable intellectual property.
In the lawsuit, Niesen asks for an injunction against further infringement, damages, and a finding that the case rates "exception," meaning an award of its attorneys' fees.