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EFF Takes on Patent Trolls

Part of effort “to save podcasting”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed a petition with the Patent and Trademark Office challenging the claims of Personal Audio LLC, a company claiming to hold key patents for podcasting technology.

Called an inter partes review, EFF said in a release that the petition “shows that Personal Audio did not invent anything new, and, in fact, other people were podcasting years before Personal Audio first applied for a patent.”

It also notes that “In preparation for this filing, EFF solicited help from the public to find prior art, or earlier examples of podcasting. In the petition, EFF cites three examples: Internet Pioneer Carl Malamud’s ‘Geek of the Week’ online radio show and online broadcasts by CNN and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).”

From a release, EFF Staff Attorney Daniel Nazer said, “As we show in our petition, Personal Audio is not the true inventor of this technology and should not be demanding a payout from today’s podcasters.” He added, “If you look into the history of podcasting, you won’t see anything about Personal Audio.”

It further says: “Because Personal Audio’s business model is entirely based on leveraging its patents and it does not do any podcasting itself, the company fits the definition of a ‘non-practicing entity,’ or — as everyone from EFF to the White House calls these entities — a ‘patent troll.’”

EFF Senior Staff Attorney Julie Samuels said, “We are thrilled to challenge this bad patent and make the world safer for creators and podcasters.” She occupies the Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents.

The petition is part of a crowdsourcing effort “to save podcasting.” According to the release it has raised over $75,000. The EFF worked with the Cyberlaw Clinic at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

The EFF is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to keeping modern media technologies minimally regulated and hindered.