USPTO invalidates podcasting patent, kneecaps 'patent troll'

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 2015
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Friday handed down a final decision invalidating key claims of a so-called "podcasting patent" assigned to Personal Audio, LLC, which was in the midst of leveraging the IP against multiple podcasters.




Today's Patent Trial and Appeal Board decision comes after the Electronic Frontier Foundation in 2013 petitioned for a review of Personal Audio's U.S. Patent No. 8,112,504 for a "System for disseminating media content representing episodes in a serialized sequence," which basically describes technology for generalized subscriber-based digital audio distribution.

Using its '504 patent, the non-practicing entity attempted to garnish licensing fees from big name podcasters, including CBS, NBC, Fox and comedian Adam Carolla. Personal Audio took Carolla to court, but ended up settling after being faced with the threat of a protracted legal battle with little upside.

"We're grateful for all the support of our challenge to this patent. Today is a big victory for the podcasting community" said EFF attorney Daniel Nazer. "We're glad the Patent Office recognized what we all knew: 'podcasting' had been around for many years and this company does not own it."

Personal Audio successfully leveraged against Apple two similar patents covering media distribution against Apple in 2009, ultimately winning $8 million in damages. That suit targeted Apple's implementation of iPod playlists, however, and did not involve podcasting technology.

Podcasting, which takes its name from Apple's iPod, first gained popularity in the early 2000s as digital audio hardware proliferated. The medium has since spawned a small cottage industry, enabling successful podcasters to generate money to offset overhead and turn a profit through in show advertising or sponsorship.

Apple released its own standalone Podcasts app with iOS 8 and preinstalls the software on all new devices. The move, along with popular podcasts like "Serial," spurred a resurgence in podcast listening over the past year.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    davegeedavegee Posts: 2,765member
    Crap! What does this say for my as yet un-patented method of noxious air pollution system by way of spicy 3 bean dip -n- nachos.
  • Reply 2 of 24
    9secondko9secondko Posts: 929member
    Corolla should get his settlement money back.
  • Reply 3 of 24
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,478member
    Finally, a troll gets his cummuppance.
  • Reply 4 of 24

    "Kneecaps" I like that word.

     

    verb (kneecaps, kneecapping, kneecapped) [ with obj. ] s   Shoot (someone) in the knee or leg as a form of punishment: (as noun kneecapping) :  petty crimes are punished by kneecapping.

     

    Yes.  Break the SOB's legs so they have nothing to stand on.  LOL.

    If the courts did that literally, there would be no more patent trolls.

  • Reply 5 of 24
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by 9secondko View Post



    Corolla should get his settlement money back.



    Agreed, as should all the other podcasters who settled with this leech of a company. Or they should be allowed to sue them for it. Litigation without a revenue stream might be even more costly in the long run.

  • Reply 6 of 24
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    9secondko wrote: »
    Corolla should get his settlement money back.

    The patent was thrown out. If you meant to write that Corolla should be awarded damages, he could apply to the court to recover his legal fees, but recovering ANYTHING in the course of a lawsuit is practically a miracle. It's not easy or simple. In fact, the legal system barely protects your rights. Lawyers and judges benefit from the legal sinkhole that has developed over centuries of case law.
  • Reply 7 of 24
    kibitzerkibitzer Posts: 1,114member
    9secondko wrote: »
    Corolla should get his settlement money back.

    Maybe he should get a set of four new tires back in the bargain as well. It's Carolla, not Corolla.
  • Reply 8 of 24
    bugsnwbugsnw Posts: 717member
    We can give a huge thanks to Adam Carolla who gave these a*sholes a verbal lashing from time to time on his podcasts.

    Hopefully this will discourage future lawyers (if even just a smidgen) from battering companies with the threat of costly litigation, forcing them to settle rather than fight for what is right.

    I really think some financial damage is called for for these immoral bloodsuckers we tolerate in the legal system. Let's not let them off the hook for doing their job. In the words of Carolla - Let's Judge!!!
  • Reply 9 of 24
    ash471ash471 Posts: 705member

    Podcasting, which takes its name from Apple's iPod, first gained popularity in the early 2000s as digital audio hardware proliferated. The medium has since spawned a small cottage industry, enabling successful podcasters to generate money to offset overhead and turn a profit through in show advertising or sponsorship.

    The patent was filed in 1996, 5 years before the iPod and the "cottage industry" that developed.  I haven't reviewed the PTAP decision and I'm not familiar with the facts of this case, but it looks to me like a classic case where a small guy invented something and everyone infringing the patent couldn't be bothered with paying the inventors a royalty and the inventors sold out to a litigation firm.  I hope they have other patents that they can enforce against the f'ing bastards that think inventors don't have to be paid for their work. I don't understand why the software industry favors the communist theology. Idiots. 

    The patent system is the antithesis of communism. And it works. So if you don't like the patent system, move to North Korea.  You'll get along fine with those folks.

  • Reply 10 of 24
    ash471ash471 Posts: 705member

    By the way, the fact that Apple paid 8 million for a license suggests to me that Apple may have been complicit in this litigation.  That amount is just what the company needed to enforce its patents.  And the company out suing everyone for patent infringement on podcasting benefits Apple, since Apple was providing a licensed product.  I'm willing to bet Apple strategically paid that 8 million.

  • Reply 11 of 24
    ash471ash471 Posts: 705member

    Most of you anti-patent people are naive about what is really going on in the IP world.  You are pawns to giant corporations who use litigation and public sentiment to avoid paying a small inventor for their inventions.  Yes there are a few bad trolls out there enforcing patents that aren't legitimate.  But many of these patent litigation cases are legitimate and are unfairly attacked.

     

    Large companies are bastards to small inventors. Facebook bought 500 million dollars worth of shitty patents from AOL at a cost of a million dollars per patent, but there is no way they would pay a small inventor a million dollars for a legitimate patent that they infringe. Instead, Facebook will pay a fancy law firm 5 million dollars to fight.  The small inventor can't fight, so they sell their patent to a group of lawyers who can.  

     

    And the public (especially in software) is supporting the likes of Facebook.  Somehow in your minds, Facebook is deserving of all the money the market provides and the small inventor is deserving of nothing. That's f'cked up if you ask me.  

  • Reply 12 of 24
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ash471 View Post

     

    Most of you anti-patent people are naive about what is really going on in the IP world.  You are pawns to giant corporations who use litigation and public sentiment to avoid paying a small inventor for their inventions.  Yes there are a few bad trolls out there enforcing patents that aren't legitimate.  But many of these patent litigation cases are legitimate and are unfairly attacked.

     

    Large companies are bastards to small inventors. Facebook bought 500 million dollars worth of shitty patents from AOL at a cost of a million dollars per patent, but there is no way they would pay a small inventor a million dollars for a legitimate patent that they infringe. Instead, Facebook will pay a fancy law firm 5 million dollars to fight.  The small inventor can't fight, so they sell their patent to a group of lawyers who can.  

     

    And the public (especially in software) is supporting the likes of Facebook.  Somehow in your minds, Facebook is deserving of all the money the market provides and the small inventor is deserving of nothing. That's f'cked up if you ask me.  




    Expressed a bit more coarsely than I would have preferred, however you are accurate on a number of points. Smaller inventors can be held at bay for years by companies with significant legal resources, forcing the smaller inventor to join up with IP holding companies just to have a chance at enforcing their IP rights.

  • Reply 13 of 24
    You changed my mind.
  • Reply 14 of 24
    robmrobm Posts: 1,068member

    Expressed a bit more coarsely than I would have preferred, however you are accurate on a number of points. Smaller inventors can be held at bay for years by companies with significant legal resources, forcing the smaller inventor to join up with IP holding companies just to have a chance at enforcing their IP rights.

    Absolutely right. there needs to be a "filter" that is impartial.
    That filter decides if the case can proceed. Not some court judge in err, let's say Texas

    So before the money grubbing lawyers get a hold and promise the litigant millions (or buy the claim for whatever) charging 60% of settlement ,there should be some legal and informed body who can make a call.
    Fraught with counter claim judgements, I know.
    But what alternative is there ?
    It's complete bs the way it is now.
  • Reply 15 of 24
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ash471 View Post

     

    Most of you anti-patent people are naive about what is really going on in the IP world.  You are pawns to giant corporations who use litigation and public sentiment to avoid paying a small inventor for their inventions.  Yes there are a few bad trolls out there enforcing patents that aren't legitimate.  But many of these patent litigation cases are legitimate and are unfairly attacked.

     

    Large companies are bastards to small inventors. Facebook bought 500 million dollars worth of shitty patents from AOL at a cost of a million dollars per patent, but there is no way they would pay a small inventor a million dollars for a legitimate patent that they infringe. Instead, Facebook will pay a fancy law firm 5 million dollars to fight.  The small inventor can't fight, so they sell their patent to a group of lawyers who can.  

     

    And the public (especially in software) is supporting the likes of Facebook.  Somehow in your minds, Facebook is deserving of all the money the market provides and the small inventor is deserving of nothing. That's f'cked up if you ask me.  




    Bullshit!  These troll lawyers buy crappy patents that they have no intention of ever using and then start examining successful companies to see how they can abuse their crappy patents while collaborating with their crooked judges to steal large sums of money.

     

    These SOBs should be literally kneecapped!

  • Reply 16 of 24
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,176member
    ash471 wrote: »
    Most of you anti-patent people are naive about what is really going on in the IP world.  You are pawns to giant corporations who use litigation and public sentiment to avoid paying a small inventor for their inventions.  Yes there are a few bad trolls out there enforcing patents that aren't legitimate.  But many of these patent litigation cases are legitimate and are unfairly attacked.

    Large companies are bastards to small inventors. Facebook bought 500 million dollars worth of shitty patents from AOL at a cost of a million dollars per patent, but there is no way they would pay a small inventor a million dollars for a legitimate patent that they infringe. Instead, Facebook will pay a fancy law firm 5 million dollars to fight.  The small inventor can't fight, so they sell their patent to a group of lawyers who can.  

    And the public (especially in software) is supporting the likes of Facebook.  Somehow in your minds, Facebook is deserving of all the money the market provides and the small inventor is deserving of nothing. That's f'cked up if you ask me.  
    Ash, I appreciate your arguments in support of broad patenting and assume you are an attorney deriving income from the patent process or adjudication efforts. I've read others bemoaning the plight of the poor inventor in his fight against corporate devils.

    Your comments would have a lot more validity if little inventors were actually applying for and getting any significant number of patents in the first place. They are not. Corporations and governments are the ones being granted patents, not "little guys". I have little doubt you're aware of USPTO published statistics that prove that to be the case, but for the benefit of casual readers I'll attach detail for the past 15 years.
    http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/ido/oeip/taf/all_tech.htm#PartA1_2b

    If you're at all curious who exactly is benefiting most from patent issuance here's the full PDF.
    http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/ido/oeip/taf/all_tech.pdf

    Note that in the most recent year (2014) individual US "inventors" accounted for less than 5% of the granted patents with over 88% being assigned to the business world. . Even small start-ups are unlikely to apply for patents. Doing what they do as quickly and efficiently as they can is a whole lot more important than going after a patent to block someone else from playing in the same sandbox.
    https://www.techdirt.com/blog/startups/articles/20120625/02185519460/new-evidence-shows-that-patents-matter-less-less-startups.shtml

    IMO the US patent process isn't designed with individuals in mind, instead being the medium to keep small inventors and the products they envision out of the marketplace with threats of litigation if they so much as put a toe in the water. For the most part it's a bogus statement that it's all protecting the "little inventor", and at least when used by others than yourself intended to distract from the facts that somewhere someplace some corporation almost assuredly has an unspecific as possible granted patent claim to the process already. Corporate America runs the show. I'll be surprised if you're in business to protect the little guy IMHO but I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. At the same time I'm sure you'd agree that it's not the little guy being granted patent protection in the first place and it's naive to think individual inventors are the focus.
  • Reply 17 of 24
    ransonranson Posts: 29member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ash471 View Post

     

    The patent was filed in 1996, 5 years before the iPod and the "cottage industry" that developed.  I haven't reviewed the PTAP decision and I'm not familiar with the facts of this case


     

    The link to the patent is included in the article. It would have taken less time to review it than it did for you to type your 3 replies on this thread. Had you taken those 10 seconds to first review the patent, you'd see it was filed in 2009, not 1996. There are 2 related filings from 96 and 01, but they are not being contested in this trial.

  • Reply 18 of 24
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,397member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleSauce007 View Post

     

    "Kneecaps" I like that word.


    Fairly regularly used in London UK.

  • Reply 19 of 24
    analogjackanalogjack Posts: 1,073member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Evilution View Post

     
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleSauce007 View Post

     

    "Kneecaps" I like that word.


    Fairly regularly used in London UK.


     

    And in Australia too. We also had the 'toecutter' gang. They used bolt cutters to cut off their victims' little piggies.

  • Reply 20 of 24
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