Nielsen Files Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against TVSquared

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Nielsen has sued potential rival TVSquared, alleging that TVSquared infringed on a Nielsen patent covering measuring audience exposure across platforms while protecting viewers’ personal information.

TVSquared was acquired last week for about $160 million by Innovid, which said “the transaction unlocks a new currency-grade standard for cross-platform TV measurement, powered by the scale and automation of a global ad server.”

Nielsen is seeking to recover damages, including lost profits, treble damages and attorney’s fees.

“We are still reviewing the recently filed complaint, but plan to vigorously contest any allegation that we infringe any Nielsen patent. Our vision remains focused on meeting the market’s needs for an independent standard for cross-platform measurement,” Innovid said in a statement.

Also: Networks Ask Nielsen to Halt Release of 'Big Data' Numbers Until After Upfronts

The suit was filed March 4 in United State District court for the Western District of Texas in Waco and concerns U.S. Patent No. 10,063,378, entitled “Methods and Apparatus to Collect Distributed User Information for Media Impressions and Search Terms.”

“TVSquared’s infringement has harmed and will continue to harm Nielsen,” Nielsen says in the suit.

TVSquared’s conduct “has caused and will in the absence of an injunction continue to cause Nielsen to suffer damages, which in no event are less than a reasonable royalty, and which include, but are not limited to, lost sales and sales opportunities,” the suit says. “Unless and until TVSquared is enjoined by this court from further infringement, Nielsen will continue to suffer damages and irreparable injury for which it has no adequate remedy at law.”

Nielsen explained why it is suing in a statement.

In the world of media measurement, Nielsen’s commitment to consumer privacy has been unmatched. Nielsen has always designed its products and services with privacy at the core, and Nielsen has foundational IP related to the technology surrounding privacy-enhancing use of consumer demographic data for audience measurement. Nielsen has spent years making the investments in continually innovating the technology behind privacy-compliant solutions for linking viewership data with consumer demographics, making its trusted measurement and outcomes data the gold standard for the industry," Nielsen said.

"We fully support and encourage innovation in media measurement. But we will not support businesses misappropriating our intellectual property. Over the years, we’ve invested heavily in the foundational intellectual property that allows us to generate trusted data that meets marketers’ needs while simultaneously protecting consumers’ privacy. We will continue to innovate, and we will protect those innovations from unauthorized use and sale by other companies," Nielsen said it its statement.

The suit comes at a time when Nielsen faces increased competition and its media company clients are intensifying their search for alternatives to Nielsen, which has long dominated the audience measurement business.

NBCUniversal last year sent out requests for proposals to measurement companies seeking more up-to-date approaches to estimated audiences in a more fragmented media environment.

TVSquared was among the companies that made a proposal to provide a cross platform ad currency, along with Nielsen, 605, Comscore, Oracle, Samba TV, TVSquared and VideoAmp.

In its evaluation, NBCU called TV Squired  a strong contender, but said it was still in the process of “developing competency.” ■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.