In this case, EFF invalidated claims from patent US 8,112,504 that had been asserted against podcasters. A patent assertion entity called Personal Audio LLC sued, or threated to sue, a number of podcasters including Adam Carolla and Marc Maron. The company claimed that its patent broadly covers all forms of podcasting.
In October 2013, we filed a petition at the Patent and Trademark Office challenging the so-called podcasting patent. This petition, known as an inter partes review (IPR), gives the patent office an expedited process for taking a second look at patents it has already issued. More than one thousand people donated to our Save Podcasting campaign to support our efforts. Our petition explained 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 preparation for this filing, EFF solicited help from the public to find prior art or earlier examples of podcasting.
In April 2015, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board invalidated all the challenged claims of the podcasting patent, finding that the patent should not have been issued in light of two earlier public disclosures, one relating to CNN news clips and one relating to CBC online radio broadcasting. Personal Audio appealed that decision to the Federal Circuit. On August 7, 2017, the appeals court affirmed the PTAB's ruling. Personal Audio then filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to review the decision. On May 14, 2018, the Supreme Court denied that petition. With that order, the PTAB ruling invalidating the challenged claims became final.