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.

Adam Carolla Settles Podcast Patent Lawsuit

Breaking news:

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Deep Links blog, Adam Carolla has settled with Personal Audio over the podcasting patent case they brought last year.

“Big news from Texas: Adam Carolla has settled with the podcasting patent troll Personal Audio. Although the settlement is confidential, we can guess the terms. This is because Personal Audio sent out a press release last month saying it was willing to walk away from its suit with Carolla. So we can assume that Carolla did not pay Personal Audio a penny. We can also assume that, in exchange, Carolla has given up the opportunity to challenge the patent and the chance to get his attorney’s fees.”

I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about this soon.

EFF Challenge Of Podcast Patent Approved By Patent Office

EFF LogoThe 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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