The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) won a court ruling against Personal Audio (a company many have described as a “Patent Troll”.) The key thing to know about the ruling that the court affirmed “…that an infamous podcasting patent used by a patent troll to threaten podcasters big and small was properly held invalid by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).”
The case called Personal Audio, LLC, v Electronic Frontier Foundation was heard by a three judge panel at the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. In a thirteen-page ruling with plenty of detailed explanation given, the judges concluded: “The decision of the PTAB holding claims 31-35 of the ‘504 Patent unpatentable is affirmed.” The EFF points out that this will keep podcasting safe, for now.
This case started in 2013, when EFF filed a petition at the USPTO challenging the so-called podcasting patent owned by Personal Audio, and asking the court to use an expedited process for taking a second look at the patent.
EFF’s petition showed that Personal Audio did not invent anything new and, in fact, other people were podcasting years before Personal Audio first applied for a patent.
In April of 2015, the Patent Office invalidated all the challenged claims of the podcasting patent, finding that the patent should not have been issued in light of two earlier disclosures, one relating to CNN news clips and one relating to CBC online radio broadcasting.
Personal Audio challenged the Patent Office decision, but the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit agreed with EFF that the patent did not represent an invention, and podcasting was known before Personal Audio’s patent was applied for.
Podcasters 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.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has won a small (but significant) victory in its challenge to the so-called “podcast patent” claims of technology company Personal Audio. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) has found that the EFF has provided sufficient prior art evidence in its case against the podcast patent.
In October of 2013, the EFF filed a petition of inter partes review (IPR) with the PTAB. The EFF explains:
“The IPR process provides an expedited means for the patent office to take a second look at a patent it has already issued. This kind of challenge proceeds in two steps. First, we file our petition. Then, before the IPR actually goes forward, the PTAB must decide whether our petition establishes a ‘reasonable likelihood’ that we would prevail. If we did not satisfy that standard, our petition would simply be rejected.”
“In our petition, we argued that Personal Audio did not invent podcasting and that parts of its patent should be declared invalid. We presented evidence relating to Internet Pioneer Carl Malamud’s ‘Geek of the Week’ online radio show and online broadcasts by CNN and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Back in February, Personal Audio filed a response arguing that we were unlikely to prevail and urging the PTAB to reject our petition. The PTAB has now found otherwise, ruling that EFF has established a reasonable likelihood of success.”
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