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Mission Abstract Data Appeals Patent Ruling

Radio automation patent infringement suit back to Patent and Trademark Office patent examiner

The potential outcome of that radio automation patent infringement suit targeting a half-dozen large broadcast groups is back in the hands of a U.S. Patent and Trademark patent examiner now that Mission Abstract Data has appealed the examiner’s findings.

PTO examiner Jason Proctor is now considering amendments to patent claims submitted by Mission Abstract Data, the company that sued CBS Radio, Cumulus, Greater Media and others in federal court in March 2011over the hard-disk automation systems they use.

The “detailed action” from the examiner last October in large part dismissed the claims of Mission Abstract Data LLC pertaining to radio broadcasters, specifically the “radio transmission of music retrieved from an on-line digital database stored in a hard drive.”

“I don’t know how broad or narrow the requests are, but these amendments seem relatively minor to me,” said Thomas Ewing, a patent attorney and IP consultant for Avancept LLC, referring to what MAD told the PTO examiner in its appeal.

Prior art submitted by Digilink and Dalet had a key role in the reexamination of patents 5,809,246 and 5,629,867, according to the USPTO developments. Radio automation supplier Broadcast Electronics, which is not a defendant in the patent infringement lawsuit, requested the patent reexamination earlier this year.

U.S. District Judge Leonard Stark granted a stay in the hard-disk automation patent suit in November, effectively placing on hold the legal case as Mission Abstract Data and the defendants work through the reexamination process.

— Randy J. Stine