Podcasting. Patent Infringement. Podcasts.

Once there was only radio. Then came television. Now there is podcasting. For years, these two outlets were the only technology available to the public from which people could tune into audio and video feeds, e.g. music radio, talk radio, TV news and talk shows, etc. Of course, the digital age of technology has broadened the options for information and entertainment. One such technology is podcasting.
Podcasts are defined as digital audio or video files that are produced in a series. People can subscribe to these files, and through podcatcher software, receive them to their computer, Smartphone or iPod. Today millions of podcasts are downloaded just in the Unites States alone. So, who invented Podcasting, and is the technology protected by a patent? A new argument on the horizon is a claim for patent infringement.

Adam Carolla. Podcaster.

These questions may soon be answered in a court of law after a Texas based company, Personal Audio, filed a patent infringement lawsuit against comedian and television personality, Adam Carolla. Carolla, who claims to be the world’s largest podcaster, was just the latest to be sued for infringing on the “podcasting patent” by Personal Audio.
Shortly after the company filed the suit, they turned around and dropped it. Carolla claims they dropped the suit when they realized he didn’t make much money as they thought from the podcasts. He claims they (Personal Audio) troll the Internet for large podcasters who they believe make large sums of money, then they file the infringement suit.
Carolla has decided that he won’t let Personal Audio drop the suit, instead, he plans on defending the suit and countersuing for damages. He states that he is taking up the fight for all podcasters and believes that the patent they hold should be rescinded.

Personal Audio. Podcasting.

Personal Audio, a company that once transcribed magazine articles to cassette tapes, filed for the podcasting patent by claiming they invented a “system for disseminating media content representing episodes in a serialized sequence.” They were granted the patent in 2012. The company claims they invented podcasting back in 1996. Opponents dismiss the claim by asserting that the first podcasts began three years earlier in 1993.
Electronic Frontier Foundation, an Internet freedom advocacy group, has petitioned the U.S. Patent Office to review the patent and have it invalidated. They assert that podcasting was already in existence in 1993, three years before Personal Audio claimed to have invented it. Earlier this year the Patent Trial and Appeal Board stated that the advocacy group’s petition had a “reasonable likelihood of success.”
The trial is scheduled to begin this September in a Texas court. This case likely to have a large impact on how and what people will be able to access from the Internet, so stay tuned.
I’m Attorney Francine Ward, and what do you think? Join the conversation on my Facebook Law Fan Page, my Twitter Law Page, my Google+ Page, or in one of my LinkedIn Groups.

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