San Francisco, California—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) won a court ruling today affirming 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).
A unanimous decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will, for now, keep podcasting safe from this patent.
In October 2013, 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. More than one thousand people donated to our Save Podcasting campaign to support our efforts.
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 preparation for this filing, EFF solicited help from the public to find prior art or earlier examples of podcasting.
In April 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 public 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 us that the patent did not represent an invention, and podcasting was known before Personal Audio’s patent was applied for.
“We’re pleased that the Federal Circuit agreed that the podcasting patent is invalid,” said Daniel Nazer, Staff Attorney at EFF and the Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents. “We appreciate all the support the podcasting community gave in fighting this bad patent.”
“Although we’re happy that this patent is still invalid, Personal Audio could seek review at the Supreme Court,” said Vera Ranieri, Staff Attorney at EFF. “We’ll be there if they do.”
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