We’ve been closely watching the trial in the Eastern District of Texas between podcasting patent troll Personal Audio and CBS. Today we heard disappointing news: after five days of trial, a federal jury found Personal Audio’s podcasting patent valid and infringed by CBS. The jury awarded $1.3 million in damages (which is likely less than the amount CBS spent defending the case all the way to verdict).
There are a few important things to note about this development. First, this does not put an end to EFF’s challenge to the patent at the Patent Office. Our case against Personal Audio is a separate proceeding. And the standards are slightly different in our case (for example, while CBS was required to prove invalidity by “clear and convincing” evidence – a high bar – the standard in our case is simply whether it is more likely than not that the patent is invalid). We are also hopeful that the specialized administrative judges at the Patent Office will take a different view of a patent that describes essentially nothing more than an online table of contents.
Second, this verdict is not the end of the story in federal court. When Newegg challenged Sovereign’s so-called shopping cart patent, it too lost after a five day trial in the Eastern District of Texas. On appeal, the Federal Circuit found that no reasonable jury could have held the patent valid. CBS has pending motions before the district court and, if those don’t succeed, it can also appeal. So while today’s verdict is very disappointing, it is not the end of the fight against Personal Audio.