The 'Podcast Patent' is Officially Dead for Good
posted Saturday Nov 4, 2017 by Scott Ertz
In the early days of personal computers, and especially the early days of the internet, the process for receiving a software patent was unbelievably easy. If you could string together 8 words that sounded tech-related, you could probably get a patent on the idea. Many of the ideas were so vague they could cover nearly any technology, and the owners of some of those patents have tried to take advantage of a bad system.
One such patent, currently owned by Personal Audio LLC (after several acquisitions over the years), has been known to the internet as "the podcast patent" because of the targets of intended litigation. The company threatened several high profile podcasters, including Adam Carolla, for using their technology without permission.
Luckily, the Electronic Freedom Foundation came to the industry's rescue, taking the case to court to invalidate the patent. After running a successful crowdfunding campaign to fund the suit, the EFF won against Personal Audio in several courts, including the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in August. Theoretically this was the case's last stop, but Personal Audio would not be deterred, asking to take the case "en banc," meaning that all of the judges would consider the case.
This week, the last stand of Personal Audio was unsuccessful, being officially invalidated by the full court. In addition to arguing in favor of the patent, the company argued against the validity of the legality of the inter partes review process. They argued that the EFF arguing against a patent tilts the power away from the patent holder. The court disagreed, invalidated the patent, and returned RSS feeds to the people of the internet.