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Company Awarded "The Patent For Podcasting" 202

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 deprecated ( 86120 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:02PM (#28875715) Homepage Journal

    There is nothing in this that even approaches the reality that anyone except an IP lawyer works in. FFS.

  • by chickenarise ( 1597941 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:09PM (#28875763)
    Didn't RTFA, but podcasting became popular as two things emerged in a large population:
    • greater bandwiïdth
    • cheap digital storage

    When you don't have the means to distribute "large" media, nor the means to easily consume that media, then there is no place for podcasting. Once you have those means, however, "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" are all just obvious extensions to how people will obtain their media.

  • by Knoeki ( 1149769 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:09PM (#28875769) Homepage
    Seriously, is it ever possible to not patent every single fart that you think of?
  • What's in a name? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gnapster ( 1401889 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:10PM (#28875785)
    Isn't the 'pod' in podcasting from the iPod (or really the iTunes mechanism for downloading things to the iPod)? Does this not imply prior art in and of itself?
  • Thanks again, /. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gravesb ( 967413 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:11PM (#28875795) Homepage
    for making me click through to get to the actual patent. Anyway, from reading some of the patent, it looks like they were trying to patent something at least somewhat interesting and unique. However, claim 1--the only independent claim--pretty clearly covers iTunes, among other prior art. I am not sure if it was bad drafting or bad intent, but I would not bring this to Apple's attention if I were the company. I've read some patent applications were the value added was miniscule, and the only way to see it is to look at some of the prosecution history. Maybe that's the case here, but I am too lazy to dig through the history. With a filing date of 2003, I doubt this will survive much scrutiny. That sucks if this company was trying to do something interesting. That's great if they are trolling.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:21PM (#28875917)

    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.

    iam more interested in the patenting "end game" in the US, with every year as more of their IP gets locked up it will come to a point where its just not possible to do business at all in the US without infringing a patent or 3 and so simply it will be better and more profitable for companies to do business and innovate outside of the USA
    leaving the US sitting in court with its millions of lawyers jerking each other off while the ROTW just gets on with business as usual, what exactly is the end game ? and what happens when you get there ?

    what i do know is 3 billion Chinese and 1.4 billion Indians not to mention Europe should take up the slack quite nicely in the future (hint: they already are, seen your universities students country of origin makeup recently? they are taking all that knowledge right back to their own countries).

  • by Lorien_the_first_one ( 1178397 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:23PM (#28875937)
    it will take several lawsuits costing millions before the patent is examined. And I doubt if there anything non-obvious here. Say, didn't the USPTO review their guidelines with respect to KSR and Bilski?
  • by pubwvj ( 1045960 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:38PM (#28876057)
    This emphasizes just how rotten to the core is our patent system. Software patents are asinine. Patents on life are even worse. The whole system should be dumped.
  • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:45PM (#28876125)

    Audioblogging [wikipedia.org]

    The RSS Enclosure element was added in 2001 and was used by Radiobloggers.

    Just because they didn't call themselves podcasters, doesn't disqualify it as prior art.

    It's a pretty obvious desire to copy Audio to a portable device, just like it's an obvious desire to copy Ebooks, Electronic newsletters, Newsgroup postings, or E-mail messages to a mobile device for consumption.

    And the method in which Podcast clients were designed to work is pretty obvious, once you define the need: Newsreader for an audio blog.

    And old item deletion (good disk space management), were more obvious then than they are now -- disk space used to be more expensive, managing it efficiently would be essential for any application that deals with large files.

  • by radtea ( 464814 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:51PM (#28876181)

    for making me click through to get to the actual patent

    Yeah, you'd think that being told EVERY SINGLE TIME a patent story is put on /. that the only thing that matters is the claims, the loser "editors" here would stop repeating statements from a press release or the patent abstract and falsely claiming that they describe what is patented. /. editors are either ignorant of the most basic facts about the American patent system, or wilful liars.

    Either way, it gets awfully tiresome.

  • by soren.harward ( 1153 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @09:10PM (#28876303) Homepage
    Not necessarily. If you have prior art documents that would invalidate one or more of the claims, then you are more than welcome to file an ex parte reexamination request. That costs well less than millions of dollars.

    And yes, the MPEP has been revised in light of KSR. On the other hand, Bilski is still up in the air because the Supreme Court is going to hear it next year. Believe me, there are a lot of us who want the Bilski dust to settle.

    I've always found it sadly hypocritical that /. geeks who have so little patience with people making mistakes on technical issues, when said mistakes can easily be corrected by a little bit of reading, are comfortable making similarly blatantly wrong statements about the US Patent system, when said mistakes can easily be corrected my reading the freely available Manual of Patent Examination Procedure. I mean, seriously, nobody should spout opinions about patentability unless they've read MPEP 2100 through at least once. It's like trying to argue vi vs. emacs when the only text editor you've ever used is Notepad.
  • Easy to avoid (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @09:36PM (#28876485)

    Claim 1 is:

    1. 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.

    Drop any element and you avoid this patent. For instant, just add a download confirmation step, and you're golden (thereby avoiding the "automatic download occurring without further user interaction")

  • by sadler121 ( 735320 ) <msadler@gmail.com> on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @09:57PM (#28876651) Homepage

    iirc, you can get a software patent in Europe, it just won't be enforced. something about US Software Companies hammering the EU Commission for software patents. They won't take no for an answer, they continue to push for them. But they also want to make sure they get their patent so when the day comes, they will have something to enforce.

  • by mqduck ( 232646 ) <mqduck@ m q d u c k . n et> on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:20PM (#28877157)

    Where do people get the idea that apple invented podcasting?

    The name?

  • by flyingfsck ( 986395 ) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:48AM (#28877997)
    The end game is in full swing. Many US factories have relocated to China and elsewhere years ago and the US Dollar keeps devaluing. Pretty soon, Indian and Chinese high tech companies will outsource their support call centres to the USA.
  • by maxwell demon ( 590494 ) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @03:13AM (#28878449) Journal

    Well, the point is, software patents are against the law in Europe. But that doesn't hinder the EPO to grant them anyways.

  • by calmofthestorm ( 1344385 ) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @03:15AM (#28878457)

    I most definitely do not want the USPTO in charge of my health care. It's a good thing we can judge a whole by any of its parts, or else racism wouldn't work, now would it?

  • by thesp ( 307649 ) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @07:47AM (#28879989)

    Thank Dawkins! Finally, someone who gets substantive patent law on Slashdot!

    Really, there should be a page we can point people to who misunderstand the concepts of novelty, inventive step, and scope of protection...

  • by mea37 ( 1201159 ) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @10:19AM (#28881733)

    The question was where people get the idea that Apple invented podcasting.

    GP's answer -- "the name" -- is the correct answer. That is where people get the idea. In fact the answer is so obvious that the quesiton was foolish. (To be fair, the question was almost certainly rhetorical; that doesn't make it any less foolish. GGP could've spoken more effectively by simply saying 'Apple did not invent podcasting', as others have.)

    And yet people jump on GP with all the reasons that the name is not an indicator of who invented the technology, as though that were somehow an argument against what GP said.

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas