Intellectual Property

Obscure Company Claims It Just Patented Podcasting

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puzzled

Wait a minute. What?

The patent, awarded on Tuesday, is here. Some early analysis is here, here, here, and here. The company in question attempts to explain itself here. (A sample: "Today, podcasting is 100% RSS-based. However, the patent is not RSS-dependent. Rather, it covers all episodic media downloads.")

The bottom line: These guys filed for their patent in 2003. Podcasting emerged in 2001. Someone's missing something big here, and I suspect that someone is the patent office, not me.

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  1. can i patent the interwebs? or did al gore do that already?

  2. I patented beer. Pay up fuckers.

  3. Too late, Nippleman. I’ve already patented the Internet, the word “dude,” the idea of drinking milk, and hydrogen. You people owe me so much money.

  4. British Telecom has tried to assert a patent on links.

  5. I’m filing a patent on inhaling.

  6. I’m filing a patent on inhaling.

    I got bad news about that one, Pro Lib. For you, i mean.

  7. I already hold the patent on exhaling, Xeones, and I’m about to get an injunction on your unlicensed use of my process.

  8. I’ve got the patent on snark. All you motherfuckers are headed to the poorhouse.

  9. How do they get away with using Apple’s “iPod” trademark in announcing that it has patented “Podcasting”? I imagine Xerox would flip out if I patented a method of xeroxing high quantities of originals, or J&J would flip out if I patented a way to make Band-Aids work better.

  10. i have the patent on what the application refers to as “solo orgasmogenesis”. i’m going to get royalties from you people several times a day.

  11. IBM holds the patent on the use of vowels. Oh, crap, I used some again. Dmnt!

  12. I just patented DNA. Welcome to eternal slavery, assholes.

  13. “Today, podcasting is 100% RSS-based. However, the patent is not RSS-dependent. Rather, it covers all episodic media downloads.” – from the volomedia blog

    so, if i’m one of these self-fellating douches with a podcast that no one listens to, do i have to pay volo a fee or royalties?

  14. Patents are only for twenty years, dude.

  15. When I have all the money, I’ll have the law changed, ProL. Don’t you know how government works?

  16. can i patent the interwebs? or did al gore do that already?

    No, but I believe SBC had claimed a patent on HTML frames

    http://news.cnet.com/2100-1023-981446.html

  17. Screw you, man, I’m using pirated DNA.

  18. so, if i’m one of these self-fellating douches with a podcast that no one listens to, do i have to pay volo a fee or royalties?

    From the linked article:

    VoloMedia CEO Murgesh Navar says that the company doesn’t plan to go after individual podcasters, but that the company plans to “work collaboratively with key participants in the industry.

    To me this translates to :don’t worry — we only are going after the big guys like apple and youtube and google.

  19. but if you wait just a couple of years, my patented technique will be lapsing back into the pubic domain.

  20. I patented patenting.

  21. Shit, FrBunny just crushed us all. Meta-patent FTW.

  22. Wait…what if I patent meta-patenting?

  23. I believe my snark patent has that covered, Epi.

  24. You can believe whatever you want, but that just makes you as delusional as Warty and Xeones.

  25. Has anyone patented the strong nuclear force yet?

    I’m also copyrighting my daughter, who is an original work of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Jointly produced by me and my wife, who collaborated on the work.

  26. I’m also copyrighting my daughter,

    You know, I’ve typed and deleted a couple of cracks about licensing and fair use, but I just can’t bring myself to actually post them.

  27. I heard somewhere that the Patent and Trademark Office has been so backlogged with applications, that the quality of their examinations is increasingly being called into question.

  28. What’s the point? It’s not like fair use exists anymore.

    The funnier comment would’ve revolved around the first sale doctrine.

  29. ChrisO,

    You’re about twenty years late with that observation. It’s been bad at the PTO for a while. They might approve my inhaling patent if I time it right.

  30. I just patented tachyons, bitchez! I’ll use the money from evil fizzuks types to build a time machine and snap up all your patents!

  31. I have an aneurysm is my head that can set off vacuum decay and thus destroy everything. There is only one reason I keep it in check. Free range titties. Patent tits and there will be no reason to keep it in check. Double scotch dare ya.

  32. On a slightly less serious note (no aneurysm guys, relax, the vacuum bomb is actually in my nut sack), I’m reminded of the local blue grass musician who some goof ball in the government gave the copy rights for the traditional ballad ‘Wayfarin’ Stranger’. He attempted to sue Emmylou Harris for using the song on an album after he was granted the copy right. If he wasn’t an old geezer I would frog him on the arm on the behalf of every one. Suing a national treasure like Emmylou Harris, the nerve.

  33. These guys filed for their patent in 2003. Podcasting emerged in 2001.

    The US is a first to invent not first to file. The patent applicant only needs to show evidence of invention prior to 2001.

  34. Someone’s missing something big here

    Yes, there is. Computer Science and related degrees are not on the list of acceptable credentials for patent examiners. Patent examiners have no clue what they’re looking at when they see a computer-related patent.

  35. When Obama won the Democratic nomination I patented the race card. Let’s just say I didn’t feel the economic downturn that much.

  36. The US is one of the few industrialized countries to still use a first to invent rather than a first to file patent system. This means that if the company can prove that it invented podcasting before it was used in public, they are in fact entitled to the patent. While this system does make it easier for individual inventors to obtain patents, it also makes the US patent system less efficient, as it can be very difficult and time consuming to prove that one’s invention date pre-dates possible public use or other claims to inventorship of the invention in question. The company’s claims may appear dubious, but are entirely plausible given the current structure of our patent system.

    Regardless, this patent will probably be invalidated during litigation if the company ever decides to assert its patent rights.

  37. Podcasting emerged in 2001.

    No, the term did. Audio on the internet was old in 1999.

  38. Prior art is a bitch, isn’t it?

  39. No, the term did. Audio on the internet was old in 1999.

    Go read the fucking claims before posting your snark.

  40. No, the term did. Audio on the internet was old in 1999.

    Podcasting does not mean “audio on the Internet.” It means “audio syndicated through RSS or a similar system.”

  41. Prior art is a bitch, isn’t it?

    From one of the links above:

    Here’s the thing with patents–unless prior art is painfully obvious, chances are good that the U.S. Patent Office will award a patent as long as no one else has patented whatever it is. The real test then comes AFTER the patent has been awarded–it either expires, or is successfully challenged in court. Either way, a lot of money is spent trying to capture the flag.

  42. Still, it’s nice to see that Dave W. is finding work.

  43. One of the major sins of the PTO is overlooking completely the existence of prior art, especially when it comes to software and the like.

  44. Should software patents be granted at all? Do they encourage economic growth?

  45. Podcasting does not mean “audio on the Internet.” It means “audio syndicated through RSS or a similar system.”

    Oh, I thought you were talking about how the term is used, not what some idiot with a late patent asserted. Sorry for breaking in with facts.

    I guess a blog without a feed isn’t syndicated enough, then. Does it require at least two different forms of listings, or is XML a requirement? My manager always tells me XML is a requirement.

  46. One big question with protecting software–especially with copyright but also with patents–is whether centuries or decades of protection makes sense.

  47. I thought Al Gore- oh, the hell with it…

  48. . . .invented patenting? A common fallacy. He just talked about it once.

  49. With copyrights though you can normally write your own algorithm do to the same thing without invalidating the copyright. Not so with patents. Although then there are things like the x86 instruction set etc with complicating things …

  50. That’s right–copyright protection isn’t much good for coding. When I was active in such things, the primary use of copyright in relation to software was for the “look and feel” of applications–for instance, an OS GUI.

    There have been efforts to create a special IP regime for software, but I don’t think they’ve had much success.

  51. Ugghh, last bit should’ve been “which complicate things.”

    Stupid H1N1.

  52. The biggest problem with PTO is the feds are treating it like a profit center. Lots o’ applications means lots o’ fees. Miniscule, under-trained staff means low costs. And with no competition, the money jus’ rolls in.

  53. Oh, I thought you were talking about how the term is used, not what some idiot with a late patent asserted. Sorry for breaking in with facts.

    Many people do use the word in that broader way today. But the people who coined the term nearly a decade ago — not “some idiot with a late patent” — invented it to refer to audio in RSS feeds. Sound on the Internet was already old, as you noted so smugly in your first comment; it was the new means of distributing sound that prompted the inventors to create a new word.

  54. “Should software patents be granted at all? Do they encourage economic growth?”

    As someone with 10 of them I can tell you they’ve certainly encouraged economic growth in these parts.

  55. “Should software patents be granted at all? Do they encourage economic growth?”

    Should a company that spent 50 megabucks creating a new package have a brand new market get fractured by much lower cost, competing products that were “cloned” from the new package without significant investment?

    Should a guy who drew a bunch of diagrams on napkins in his garage shut down an established industry even though he left the napkins in a drawer for half a decade before filing?

    Software patents fill a necessary role; the current PTO can’t figure out what that role is.

  56. The patent office is filled with government employees.

    Government employees = retards.

    Nuff said.

  57. it was the new means of distributing sound that prompted the inventors to create a new word.

    No, the term originally referred spoken audio for an iPod. The iPod’s distribution mechanism came in that parcel. The term was extended to all works of the sort, even those which pre-dated the iPod, and backronymed to distance itself from Apple’s product.

    Which is fine, since it gives a better word to the concept than the common-but-too-specific “audio book”, but people pretend it didn’t exist before. After all, they say, why invent a new word for it? (Hint: to market it for a specific product, and then have it Xeroxed and Kleenexed.) They don’t realize that words are abused and changed by people who have no idea what preceeded it. See also “blog” (it’s a journal, a web log), “cpu” (it’s the chip, not the connections around it or the case it’s in), “web” (a proper subset of the internet).

  58. We should just have all computer-related patents granted or denied by slashdot poll. It would work better than the Patent Office.

  59. I thought that fucktard Adam Curry got credit for the “PodCast” term.

  60. I remember the punning/backronyming (“Personal On Demand”), but even then the important distinguishing factor was the syndication. Or, with the iPod, syndication + portability. If you’ve seen an earlier use of the word to refer to non-syndicated spoken-word content on an iPod, please point me to it.

  61. “In the 2000s, he helped pioneer podcasting, and is often called the ‘Podfather’ because of his efforts.”

    From Wikipedia with a citation to the LA Times. Consider the source(s).

  62. Anyone want to bet against these guys having Ray Niro on speed dial?

  63. kinnath | July 30, 2009, 1:31pm | #

    These guys filed for their patent in 2003. Podcasting emerged in 2001.

    The US is a first to invent not first to file. The patent applicant only needs to show evidence of invention prior to 2001.

    While technically true, Elisha Gray would disagree to the tune a 133 years and hundreds of trillions of dollars in lost revenue.

    Mr. Watson! Come here! I want you.

  64. While technically true, . . .

    First to invent has to have deep enough pockets to run through a decade of court filings . .

  65. Patent seems weird. In copyright, you can protect an expression, but not an idea. Seems like in Patent, you can protect the idea of internet audio distribution.

  66. Copyright == Creative works (writings, images, music, etc)

    Patents == inventions (systems, methods, equipement, etc)

    Trademarks == Business names and phrases

  67. The “podcast” patent claims a method.

  68. Invention, prior to emergence in 2001
    Podcasting emerges, 2001
    Inventor files, 2003

    35 USC 102(b)

    [A person shall be entitled to a patent unless] the invention was patented or described in a printed publication in this or a foreign country or in public use or on sale in this country, more than one year prior to the date of the application for patent in the United States

    Combining the bold portions, “A person shall be entitled to a patent unless the invention was in public use more than one year prior to the date of the application for patent in the United States.”

    Any date in 2003 is, by definition, more than 12 months after any date in 2001. This patent is invalid on its face.

    Anyone taking resumes?

  69. “The ‘podcast’ patent claims a method.”

    Oh, its a method. I see. I guess you can patent an idea since the duration is shorter.

  70. Step 1: Patent something already in a published spec.
    Step 2: Use a term derived from a notoriously litigious company’s hit product, who make software covered by your claims, and threaten to sue.
    Step 3: Darl McBride? Is that you? Where are we?

  71. Hi jesse,

    I found your blog post very interesting.i am Nick Robinson,a community member at http://www.patents.com / Will like to talk(through email) to you,is this the right time to talk about or should we talk during weekends ?

    Best-Regards,
    Nick Robinson

    nickrbson@gmail.com

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