Conviva sues NPAW, alleging analytics patent infringement

Online video optimization vendor Conviva sued Nice People at Work, a big data and business intelligence provider that recently stepped into the online video analytics space, alleging that NPAW is violating a number of its U.S. patents.

The company is seeking an injunction against NPAW as well as unspecified damages.

The suit comes days after Barcelona-based NPAW announced a strategic partnership with Streamroot, another U.S.-based video optimization vendor, that will enable it to offer its business intelligence and analytics services to broadcasters, online video providers and other digital media providers alongside Streamroot's services.

However, a Conviva spokesperson told FierceOnlineVideo that the lawsuit is unrelated to the Streamroot partnership.

According to Conviva's Chief Strategy Officer Keith Zubchevich, NPAW apparently copied some of the provider's products.

"Many of NPAW's employees  were working at a former Conviva customer, where they had access to confidential information about Conviva's products and technology," Zubchevich told FierceOnlineVideo. "When NPAW started to market its Youbora Analytics product and Smart Switch Module products, some of our customers alerted us about NPAW's apparent copying of Conviva's products. While we can't go into the full details of our investigation at this time, as set forth in our complaint, our investigation showed that NPAW products are using Conviva's patented technology."

Conviva's move illustrates just how important audience measurement and analytics is becoming to the OTT ecosystem. The company said that NPAW is infringing on patents involving "the computation and summarization of video streaming metrics as well as delivery resource selection and switching."

The lawsuit is reminiscent of the flurry of patent infringement suits that gained steam as the OTT video market took off less than a decade ago. Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX), for example, defended itself in a number of lawsuits regarding its streaming services and patents held by Kudelski, a parent of companies like Nagra and OpenTV -- one in 2012, another in 2013, and a third just a year later. Netflix resolved all three lawsuits by mid-2015.

And in November, Kudelski sued Verizon (NYSE: VZ) over patents it said the carrier infringed in its FiOS video services, its go90 streaming service, and its defunct transactional service Redbox Instant.

Now, similar attention appears to be turning toward the fast-developing content analytics segment as providers angle to attract streaming customers with in-depth measurement and analytics solutions.

"Conviva has spent a decade investing in and developing award-winning video monitoring and optimization solutions, and holds several foundational patents protecting its technology," said Dr. Hui Zhang, CEO of Conviva, in a prepared statement. "We believe innovation and diversity provides for a stronger ecosystem.  However, we cannot stand by and watch Conviva's IP be intentionally and flagrantly exploited, and we will defend our intellectual property rights through every means available to us."

NPAW had not responded to a request for comment by press time.

For more:
- see this release
- see this Streamroot partnership announcement

Related articles:
IP litigation as competition: OpenTV, Nagra file another patent suit against Netflix
Verizon sued for patent infringement by Kudelski
Verizon to pay $510 million to settle ActiveVideo, TiVo patent suits

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