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Company Awarded "The Patent For Podcasting" 202

Posted by samzenpus
from the patent-for-obtaining-patents dept.
Chris Albrecht writes "VoloMedia announced today that it has been awarded what it called the 'patent for podcasting.' According to the press announcement, patent number 7,568,213, titled 'Method for Providing Episodic Media,' covers: '...the fundamental mechanisms of podcasting, including providing consumer subscription to a show, automatically downloading media to a computer, prioritizing downloads, providing users with status indication, deleting episodes, and synchronizing episodes to a portable media device.'"
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Company Awarded "The Patent For Podcasting"

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  • by brunes69 (86786) <<gro.daetsriek> <ta> <todhsals>> on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @07:58PM (#28875681) Homepage

    This isn't even a submarine patent, it is just a another piss-poor USPTO decision. There is prior art for this all over the place. Heck the iPhone is prior art, and that is not even old.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:00PM (#28875709)

    You may be confused about what the "prior" means in prior art. Something that isn't older than the claim isn't prior.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:11PM (#28875793)

    Its related to an application from November 2003. So unless there's a problem with their priority claim - for anything to qualify as prior art it would have to be before November 2003 (and before November 2002 to be really dangerous to the patent at all).

  • by moon3 (1530265) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:21PM (#28875923)
    Looks bad to me, their claim seams legit, the actual fill date goes back to 2003 TA:

    filed for this particular patent in November 2003 a time, Navar said, before it was obvious that people would download episodic content such as podcasts.

    They are talking over the red phone with Apple now and it looks like their IP lawyers already rolled out the subpoena Gatling.
  • by Banzai042 (948220) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:26PM (#28875973)
    According to the history of podcasting [wikipedia.org] article on wikipedia the system of using RSS for podcasts and the ability to get them onto an iPod was mature and in use by the time this patent was filed, so it would appear that prior art will indeed shut any efforts from VoloMedia to get money from this patent down.
  • by Tony Hoyle (11698) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:30PM (#28876011) Homepage

    Where do people get the idea that apple invented podcasting? It existed long before it was in itunes.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_podcasting [wikipedia.org]

    Anyway, this patent is BS.. just based on that history podcasts (albeit not called podcasts) existed in 2001.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:40PM (#28876079)
    You may be confused about what "Filed: October 9, 2008" means.
  • by Nicolas MONNET (4727) <nicoaltiva@gmai l . c om> on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @09:15PM (#28876345) Journal

    And what do subpoena have to do with anything here? Everything that's needed is public.

  • by Zordak (123132) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @09:20PM (#28876377) Homepage Journal

    doesn't existing patented technology utilizing their structure (i.e. iTunes) nullify their claim?

    I'm not sure I understand your question. You seem to be saying that the existence of a commercially-available infringing product invalidates the patent. But if that were the case, patents would be worthless. To be patentable, your invention has to be new and non-obvious (yes, I know there's more than that, I'm simplifying; this is not legal advice and so forth). It doesn't matter if it infringes another patent, or if somebody else successfully builds your product while your patent is pending, or even if somebody improves on your invention and gets a patent on the improvement. In fact, from a patent-holder's perspective, there's nothing better than to come up with a really brilliant idea, file for a patent, and while it's pending, $MEGACORP makes an infringing product (intentionally or not), spruces it up, and creates a huge market for your invention. Hooray for solvent defendants!

    If you want to kill this thing (and I'm not recommending you should---I don't personally care), the best way to do it is to find a document published anywhere in the world before November 2002 (1 year before they filed) that has all the elements of their claims. It doesn't matter what the abstract is, or what the title says, or what's in the specification, or even that the inventor calls it "the podcasting patent." All that matters is the claims. You find a reference that has each and every limitation in the claims, and those claims are dead. Nothing anybody has done since November 2003 matters to these claims, and anything between November 2002 and November 2003 will just provoke litigation over first-to-invent (which is fine for the lawyers, but not so good for anybody else). So I think it's premature to just assume these claims are invalid.

    And before people start modding me troll, I'm not saying I'm a fan of patent trolls. I've defended several cases against patent trolls, and there's nothing more frustrating than having to fight a litigious plaintiff with a bad patent. I am saying that there's such a thing as a valid patent (despite what many Slashdotters would like to believe), and even such a thing as a valid computer-related patent, and if you're lucky enough to have one and win a case against a solvent defendant, it's a great day. I don't call "troll" until I've thoroughly reviewed the claims, the allegedly-infringing product, the specification, and the prior art. And nobody has hired me to do that, so I probably won't, because it takes a long time.

  • by Zordak (123132) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @09:25PM (#28876407) Homepage Journal

    the other 194 countries who do not recognize US patents its probably a good thing, nothing like a government eliminating its own companies from the worlds competition.

    You do realize that those other countries have their own patent laws, don't you? And a clever U.S. inventor can even file patent applications in the foreign countries that matter. In fact, we have a treaty (called the Patent Cooperation Treaty) that lets you file a single application that you can then send out to different countries within a couple of years. If I want to shut down competition in Europe, I'll file in Europe.

  • by justzisguy (573704) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @10:36PM (#28876883)

    If there is prior art that is slightly different, but the changes are something that are pretty simple, wouldn't that meet the obviousness criteria?

    It depends. If the difference is insignificant (e.g., inventor claims a blue button and the prior art indicates a red button, where the color of the button is arbitrary to the invention at hand), then no secondary art needs to be found to teach the insignificant feature. I'm guessing, however, that pretty simple refers to the ease of implementation. Remember that hindsight may not be relied upon. It is easy to add file sizes and track length to an RSS feed, but that has nothing to do with obviousness. To present a case for obviousness (if the bold limitations in my GP post are the ones missing), an ordinary person skilled in the art at the time the invention was made would have needed to combine the channel depth (file size and track length) concept with the podcasting idea. If some reference A about podcasting teaches all the limitations of the claim except for the channel depth, and reference B teaches channel depth in a similar application, and motivation for adding the channel depth can be found, then, and only then, is it an obvious limitation.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @10:48PM (#28876975)

    You seem to be confused about what "November 2003" means. You should be quiet now and let the adults discuss this.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:04PM (#28877043)

    http://web.archive.org/web/20021002080332/http://cbc.ca/quirks/archives.htm

    Patent was filed in 2003. The Canadian radio show Quirks and Quarks delivered episodic content as far back as 2002.

    Also, portable devices were getting episodes of TV shows automatically upon syncronization:

    http://digitalcontentproducer.com/news/video_classic_tv_shows/ (article written in 2002, one year prior to the filed patent).

    [quote]
    The new channel, which has already launched, and will update daily with fresh episodes of more than five classic television shows including Dragnet, Andy Griffith, Beverly Hillbillies, Dick Van Dyke and One Step Beyond. New episodes of each show will rotate daily.

    With this new service, fans of classic TV shows can now watch their favorite episodes on their PDA's - delivered daily to enjoy anytime, anywhere. Each weekday, subscribers will receive a new show on the Pocket PC Films-TV channel. Once subscribed, fresh episodes will appear automatically every day when the user synchronizes their handheld device.
    [/quote]

  • Re:What's in a name? (Score:3, Informative)

    by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @12:09AM (#28877473)

    Feel free to read anything related to this, but they don't refer to it as "podcasting" in the patent from 2003. That's just what the headline says. The term is more recent than the patent.

  • by ProfBooty (172603) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @12:52AM (#28877733)

    I would also note that class 725, the class in which this patent was issued from typically has the lowest patent allowance rate in the office. They typically battle it out with class 705 (business methods) for lowest allowance rate.

  • right you might be (Score:3, Informative)

    by ProfBooty (172603) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @12:58AM (#28877767)

    The class which examined this patent is class 725, Interactive Video Distribution. While the claims themselves don't explicitly state they are in a CATV environment, the claims are limited by what is disclosed in the specification.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:22AM (#28877883)

    Anyone who thinks the filing date is 2008 is immediately disqualified from discussing anything about the patent system until they've learned even the most basic items

    PROTIP: only claims identical to those filed in 2003 gets the "priority date". Any novel claims not included in the 2003 patent can be countered with prior art dated before 2007. This is how the continuation system has always worked in order to prevent people from filing for "method of fellating a whale" and getting their patent rejected over and over before finally deciding to write up a patent describing the entirety of Windows 7 and claiming they invented it in 2003 because that's the whalesucker's "priority date". Get the first application and this application's prosecution history and see what exactly changed when.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:33AM (#28877933)

    You may be confused about what "Filed: October 9, 2008" means.

    It means there's 3 full years of prior art. I mean heck, all the patent office needed to do was search Wikipedia for History of podcasting [wikipedia.org] to know that this patent was years too late to be valid. The concept was proposed in late 2000, and the first podcast on record dates all the way back to January of 2001. I'm not seeing anything there that shouldn't have been obvious to anyone who attended BloggerCon the week before the patent was filed....

    Am I missing something here?

  • by justzisguy (573704) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:38AM (#28877945)
    So that no one is confused, the key limitations probably are in bold. I have not searched this patent, nor have I looked at the prosecution history. I further am not a registered patent attorney or agent. User takes all risk. Void where prohibited. Batteries not included?
  • by synthmole (1607395) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:28AM (#28878207)

    If you want to kill this thing (and I'm not recommending you should---I don't personally care), the best way to do it is to find a document published anywhere in the world before November 2002 (1 year before they filed) that has all the elements of their claims. It doesn't matter what the abstract is, or what the title says, or what's in the specification, or even that the inventor calls it "the podcasting patent." All that matters is the claims.

    Thu, Jan 11, 2001; by Dave Winer: http://www.thetwowayweb.com/payloadsForRss [thetwowayweb.com]

  • by Hammer (14284) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @03:24AM (#28878517) Journal

    As a matter of fact it is a submarine. It was filed Nov 2003 but not completed until Nov 2008 when Apple entered the stage.
    However there is prior art dating back to circa 2000. So it is also a bad USPTO decision. But there are others [uspto.gov]

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