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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 Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:04PM (#28875743)

    And seriously, I would think RSS feeds would prove that this was intended before they did it. Assholes.

  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@ya ... m minus math_god> on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:10PM (#28875779) Homepage Journal

    Was the aptent submitted before iTunes did podcasting?

    "VoloMedia, which used be called Podbridge, filed for this particular patent in November 2003 â" a time, Navar said, before it was obvious that people would download episodic content such as podcasts."

    Of course, it's crap. I had an ftp server where I created a 'digital diary' once a week for the first 6 months of my sons life, and that was in 1998.
    Granted, they where only 2-3 minutes and linked to my 'web diary', but they where down loadable every week.

    I hope Apple hands them their ass.

  • by russotto (537200) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:24PM (#28875941) Journal

    This doesn't just cover podcasting. It covers all "episodic media". Which means prior art for all "episodic media" (including text subscriptions) should count.

    If there's anything in there that's at all novel or non-obvious, I can't see it.

  • USPTO scam continues (Score:4, Interesting)

    by xednieht (1117791) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @09:06PM (#28876271) Homepage
    It would never pass the Machine-or-transformation test http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine-or-transformation_test [wikipedia.org]

    "machine-or-transformation test is a test of patent eligibility under which a claim to a process qualifies to be considered for patenting only if it : (1) is implemented with a particular machine, that is, one specifically devised and adapted to carry out the process in a way that is not concededly conventional and is not trivial; or else
    (2) transforms an article from one thing or state to another."

    This test dates back to the 19th century, which leads me to believe the USPTO is more than willing to grant as many patent applications as are submitted regardless of merit. Why would they do that? To collect the fees. The USPTO only gains by granting even the most trivial patents.

    IMO, if I were VoloMedia I'd be pissed. In addition to the cost involved in getting this ridiculous patent they will need to spend even more when it is challenged... and retracted.

    USPTO scam continues.
  • Dont you get it ? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by unity100 (970058) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @09:12PM (#28876321) Homepage Journal

    there will be no end to this shit. if you allow patenting of abstract concepts, it will eventually end up with base logic processes being patented. nothing other than machines should be patented.

  • by justzisguy (573704) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @09:53PM (#28876613)

    I'm kinda feeling lazy right now, but with a fair amount of patent experience under my belt, I'd say the key limitations of '213 Carhart et al. are in bold below:

    A method for providing episodic media, the method comprising: providing a user with access to a channel dedicated to episodic media, wherein the episodic media provided over the channel is pre-defined into one or more episodes by a remote publisher of the episodic media; receiving a subscription request to the channel dedicated to the episodic media from the user; automatically downloading updated episodic media associated with the channel dedicated to the episodic media to a computing device associated with the user in accordance with the subscription request upon availability of the updated episodic media, the automatic download occurring without further user interaction; and providing the user with: an indication of a maximum available channel depth, the channel depth indicating a size of episodic media yet to be downloaded from the channel and size of episodic media already downloaded from the channel, the channel depth being specified in playtime or storage resources, and the ability to modify the channel depth by deleting selected episodic media content, thereby overriding the previously configured channel depth.

    Finding the old podcast applications and checking for that particular feature takes a bit of work. If anyone happens to have an old version of AmphetaDesk [wikipedia.org] or Radio UserLand [wikipedia.org], perhaps they include a feature that would read on indicating channel depth. Remember, the prior art needs either to disclose each and every limitation of the claimed invention, or be combined with additional prior art that fills in the missing pieces, along with a motivating rational for combining the art.

  • by stony3k (709718) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .k3ynots.> on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @10:02PM (#28876683) Homepage
    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?
  • Sounds like TV (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thedarknite (1031380) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @10:04PM (#28876693) Homepage
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but from skimming the patent claims a number of items that they're describing seems very much like a cable television subscription.
  • by okmijnuhb (575581) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @10:50PM (#28876985)
    I believe that Adam Curry, (former MTV video jockey) [who incidentally registered the MTV.com domain very early on] played a large part in early podcasting, even as far as coining or spreading the adoption of the term, and lending his hand at coding early pre-iTunes aggregators, until passing the ball to more competent coders, and also having a part in persuading Apple to adopt it into iTunes functionality.
  • what could happen? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by GarretSidzaka (1417217) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @10:59PM (#28877025)

    I am associate producer at Civilized Communications and create the Civ4 ModCast.

    what is going to be fair use? who is going to suffer? indie podcasters or iTunes?

  • Re:Easy to avoid (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ThatsNotFunny (775189) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:12PM (#28877119)
    How about this:

    receiving a subscription request to the channel dedicated to the episodic media from the user

    RSS feeds do not manage subscriptions, they do not receive subscription requests. The act of "subscribing" is no more than the end user having a program that automatically rechecks an XML file that exists somewhere in cyberspace. The USER has to subscribe, the podcaster does not receive any sort of subscription request, they simply host the files. This patent seems like a closed system, where proprietary software is used to manage a subscription and it interfaces with a server that receives and verifies the subscription request. I don't see how traditional podcasting is covered by this at all.

  • by arthurpaliden (939626) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:22PM (#28877171)
    If that is the case, it covering all "episodic media", then prior art goes back to 1994 with "TimeOut Sports Technologies" (who are now bankrupt). They had sports pool software that updated all player data for hockey, football, basketball and baseball which was downloaded by the customer every week using the DataPac network.
  • So I think it's premature to just assume these claims are invalid.

    As another registered patent person (agent), I would point out that this is slashdot, and any discussion of patents (or intellectual property in general) here is usually 180 degrees from reality: "The title is the patent!", "Copyright is a violation of free speech!", "You can't trademark a name!"

  • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:43PM (#28877285) Journal

    The patent was filed in 2003

    "VoloMedia, which used be called Podbridge, filed for this particular patent in November 200

    "CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

    The present application is a continuation and claims the priority benefit of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/717,183 filed Nov. 19, 2003 and entitled "Personalized Episodic Download Media Service," the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. The present application is related to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/717,176 filed Nov. 19, 2003 and entitled "Content Distribution Architecture," the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference."

  • by oiron (697563) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:55PM (#28877387) Homepage

    Even under the PCT, you can't really patent something that's not patentable in that country. China for example, uses this tactic:

    1. Patent application gets filed under PCT
    2. China takes a look and rejects it
    3. The patent is now in public domain
    4. ...
    5. Profit

    The patent is valid everywhere except China in this case. They just rejected it.

  • by empiricistrob (638862) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @03:03AM (#28878389)
    The only independent claim specifies "receiving a subscription request to the channel dedicated to the episodic media from the user; ".

    This could be debated, but the way I read this is that the client sends a request to the server to subscribe. Of course podcasts are not subscription based (although the client software usually makes this illusion). Podcasts just check an RSS feed for new episodes. The server never has any clue about "subscriptions".

    Of course to fully evaluate this one would need to dig into the specification of the patent to see how it used the terminology, but it's not at all clear to me that traditional podcasting is covered by this patent.
  • by Simon Brooke (45012) <stillyet@googlemail.com> on Thursday July 30, 2009 @06:28AM (#28879473) Homepage Journal

    the channel depth indicating a size of episodic media yet to be downloaded from the channel and size of episodic media already downloaded from the channel, the channel depth being specified in playtime or storage resources, and the ability to modify the channel depth by deleting selected episodic media content, thereby overriding the previously configured channel depth.

    Plenty of FTP clients available at the time showed a listing of the files in the current directory of the currently connected server server, with their size, on the left hand side of the screen, and a listing of the files in the currently selected directory on the client with their size on the right hand side of the screen. They also provided means of deleting files on the client (and if authorised on the server) and of selecting which files on the server to download.

    This meets all the features of the above claim.

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