Patent Office Invalidates Key Claims in “Patent Troll” Case

EFF LogoPodcasters have something to really rejoice over today. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) got a big win in its case against Personal Audio LLC, the so-called “patent troll” that began suing podcasters in 2013 for licensing fees, claiming those podcasters were using technology it had patented. So while debates may go on forever about just who really invented podcasting, we know now for sure it definitely wasn’t Personal Audio.

From the EFF website:

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) invalidated key claims in the so-called “podcasting patent” today after a petition for review from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)—a decision that significantly curtails the ability of a patent troll to threaten podcasters big and small.


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).

Even before this ruling, Personal Audio’s attempts at suing under patent infringement claims hadn’t been going so well. Most notably, the company settled out of court with Adam Carolla, claiming that Carolla’s company wasn’t profitable enough to make the lawsuit worthwhile. Today’s ruling should put an end to any future podcasting-related lawsuits coming from Personal Audio.

The EFF has archived the entire Patent Office decision, if you’d like to read it.