Analyst Firms Fight Over Patents On How They Collect Data

from the oh-please dept

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)?

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Analyst Firms Fight Over Patents On How They Collect Data”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
David says:

Might it be good?

I think there is no disagreement that wasteful spending on lawsuits does nothing to spur innovation.

Yet, it sounds very similar to Google’s PageRank patent. We should grade search engines based on their results and not their patened tools as well, but doesn’t patenting their tools give them an incentive to create new and more accurate ones? Of course, that presumes they don’t patent the idea of measuring data, and stick to patenting the tools which do so.

Thomason says:

Research Metrics method patents

Safe to assume that Mike is not going to spend/waste any money on patent protection, and his many posts on that are consistent.

The Telephia patent, which I just read, claims elements perhaps unique to the telecom networks. It may be simplistic to think “that just because something moves to a mobile device it’s unique enough to deserve patent protection is silly.” The method accounts for calls on one’s chosen subscriber network, those via others’ networks, e.g., roamers, number of new subscribers and number that cancel service, etc., etc. I agree those all can be stated as algorithms, which used not to be patentable, but the courts let that genie out of the bottle.

The other point I wonder about is what patent infringement suits have “to do with promoting innovation,” or not. The technology is available, even if only one company is making that available. The patent enables that company to keep innovating, and it keep others from non-innovative infringements. Either way, the innnovation is available to all, but only the patentee or its licensee can offer it.

mthorn says:

Re: Research Metrics method patents

Just because a company has a patent on a product they are producing does not mean they are the best candidate for innovation for the product. Lots of people have better ideas for existing products. The only way to create those better products is to work with the patent owner. I guess as long as you get a good deal that is fine. But if your idea is totally innovative and created on your own without inspiration from another product, it sucks to have to pay royalties to someone else just because they own a patent that confiicts with your product.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Remove some patent options

This type of patenting all started when software patents were allowed.

Now it seems that anyone can patent an idea.

Just need to remove the new types of patents that have come about back to and including software patents. This would solve a lot of problems such as wasteful lawsuits.

Scientist says:

So what happens when companies start patenting research methods in general — do academic researchers then have to start paying licensing fees when they want to perform new types of regressions or include new queuing analytics in their research? Seems like we’d be taking the slippery slope of scientific/engineering decline the US is on right now and tipping it even further in the wrong direction.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...