An appeals court this week dismissed a case from Personal Audio against the dismissal of its so-called “podcasting patent”. The patent case dates back to 2013 when Personal Audio began sending legal threats to podcasters, claiming they owned a patent for a “system for disseminating media content representing episodes in a serialized sequence” and the podcasters were, therefore, apparently, committing patent infringement. Personal Audio filed the original patent in 1996.
However, the patent was invalidated thanks to the work of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and podcasters are now safe to work without the risk of infringement cases being filed against them. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) challenged Personal Audit’s patent in court by receiving more than $76,000 in donations on its “save podcasting” campaign. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed an inter partes review ruling, allowing anyone to challenge a patent at the US Patent and Trademark Office.
The bulk of the argument by the EFF was based on the fact that there were podcast-like productions that dated back to before the 1996 patent was filed. For example, CNN’s internet newsroom began in 1995 and contained episodes, an updated compilation file and a predetermined URL for said file.Although the counter-argument claimed that CNN’s were “not different episodes” because they are neither “a series nor are they a program”, the courts still sided with EFF due to their extensive research of other examples such as Quirks & Quarks.
Conclusively, podcasts are now safe from patent litigation and podcasters will not have to worry about Personal Audio filing patent infringement cases against them anymore. That is, of course, unless Personal Audio decides to take the case to the Supreme Court for final judgment.