Earlier this week, a couple of us here at Techdirt were looking over a new research report from an analyst firm, when we noted with some surprise that the copyright notice also included the phrase "patent pending." We went back and forth trying to figure out just what an analyst firm might be patenting, but apparently they're not the only ones. The latest is that one research firm is suing another research firm for violating a patent on measuring wireless device and network usage. The complaint comes from Telephia, and is filed against M:Metrics. Both firms are fairly well known in the wireless space for providing data on mobile data usage. However, the idea that one of them should own patents on the idea of measuring such things seems ridiculous. Measuring data usage on computing devices is quite common -- and the idea that just because something moves to a mobile device it's unique enough to deserve patent protection is silly and has little to do with promoting innovation. It's not as if collecting mobile data usage metrics wouldn't have happened without patents. It's an obvious step for the market that has always thrived on data usage metrics. However, even more importantly, these are two research firms. Shouldn't they be competing on the quality of their data -- not who has a patent on the research method? Should we, as a corporate research firm ourselves start wasting our money filing patent claims (or worrying about whether we violate other analyst firms' patents)?
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