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Podcasting Patent Is Dead, but Not the Troll

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

All good things must come to an end and even some bad things, too.

At least that's the story of Personal Audio and its litigation against podcasters. The failed startup lived on suing companies based on its patent for "disseminating media content representing episodes in a serialized sequence."

The lawsuit business worked for a while, including victories against Apple and other companies, but an appeals court put an end to the patent-trolling against podcasters.

Ding, Dong the Podcast Patent Is Dead

The U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a decision that invalidated Personal Audio's so-called "podcasting patent." The company had threatened numerous podcasters in recent years, and forced some into settlement.

However, a non-profit digital rights group sued to challenge the patent and won. The court of appeals affirmed in Personal Audio v. Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Heralding the decision, Ars Technica reported the "podcasting patent is totally dead." The court ruling ended the patent troll's seven-year reign over podcasters and other companies.

"We're glad that the IPR process worked here, that we were allowed to go in and defend the public interest," said Vera Ranieri, an EFF attorney who worked on the case.

Patent Troll Beat Apple, Samsung, and Carolla

EFF won what other companies could not: a ruling that Personal Audio's patent was invalid.

Before the organization stepped into the fray, however, Personal Audio won an $8 million claim against Apple over its iPod playlists. Samsung and others also lost in separate cases.

Adam Carolla, the comedian and podcaster, raised $500,000 to fight Personal Audio but settled just before trial. EFF then filed an inter alia review to challenge the podcasting patent.

"We're glad the Patent Office recognized what we all knew: 'podcasting' had been around for many years and this company does not own it," said EFF lawyer Daniel Nazer.

The Peronal Audio story, however, is not over. Reportedly, the patent troll is not dead.

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