San Francisco, California – The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) invalidated key claims in the so-called “podcasting patent” last week after a petition for review from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (“EFF”). This decision significantly curtails the ability of a patent troll to threaten podcasters big and small.
“We’re grateful for all the support of our challenge to this patent. Today is a big victory for the podcasting community” said EFF Staff Attorney Daniel Nazer, who also holds the Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents. “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.”
The “podcasting patent” became big news in 2013, when a company called Personal Audio, LLC, began demanding licensing fees from podcasters including comedian Adam Carolla and three major television networks. Personal Audio doesn’t do podcasting itself, but instead used its patent to claim infringement and collect payouts from actual creators.
In petitions filed with Patent Office, EFF showed that Personal Audio did not invent anything new before it filed its patent application, and, in fact, other people were podcasting for years previously. Earlier examples of podcasting include Internet pioneer Carl Malamud‘s “Geek of the Week” online radio show and online broadcasts by CNN and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
“We have a lot to celebrate here,” said EFF Staff Attorney Vera Ranieri. “But unfortunately, our work to protect podcasting is not done. Personal Audio continues to seek patents related to podcasting. We will continue to fight for podcasters, and we hope the Patent Office does not give them any more weapons to shake down small podcasters.”
This edited article was provided by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit group which advocates for innovators and users of technology. The article has been licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License.
This should not be taken as legal advice specific to any individual network operator. If you want such advice, please consult a copyright attorney.