If you host a podcast, or listen to one, fear not: The patent for podcasting is no more.
Per an Ars Technica report, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld an April 2015 inter partes review (IPR) ruling. Under this process, anyone can challenge a patent’s validity at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
The origins of this case began in 2013 when Personal Audio (PA) put podcasters and tech companies on notice for allegedly infringing on U.S. Patent No. 8,112,504, a “system for disseminating media content representing episodes in a serialized sequence.” A lawsuit could be avoided, however, if the alleged infringers entered a licensing deal with PA.
After PA’s efforts gained notoriety, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) decided to challenge the patent and was eventually successful. EFF attorney Vera Ranieri stated to Ars:
“We’re glad that the IPR process worked here, that we were allowed to go in and defend the public interest.”
Of note per Ars, PA’s history goes all the way back to the 1990s when it set out to create a “proto-iPod digital music player.” While company failed, founder Jim Logan found the new line of work of filing lawsuits for financial gain and was successful in reaching settlements with companies like Samsung and Apple.
Ars points out that unlike other non-practicing patent entities, or “patent trolls,” Logan was vocal about his company’s history and reasoning for going after alleged infringers. The last lawsuit he filed was against Google in September 2015.