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Patents Electronic Frontier Foundation The Courts

Adam Carolla Settles With Podcasting Patent Troll 63

Personal Audio has been trying to assert patents they claim cover podcasting for some time now; in March Adam Carolla was sued and decided to fight back. Via the EFF comes news that he has settled with Personal Audio, and the outcome is likely beneficial to those still fighting the trolls. From the article: Although the settlement is confidential, we can guess the terms. This is because Personal Audio sent out a press release last month saying it was willing to walk away from its suit with Carolla. So we can assume that Carolla did not pay Personal Audio a penny. We can also assume that, in exchange, Carolla has given up the opportunity to challenge the patent and the chance to get his attorney’s fees. ... EFF’s own challenge to Personal Audio’s patent is on a separate track and will continue ... with a ruling likely by April 2015. ... We hope that Personal Audio’s public statements on this issue mean that it has truly abandoned threatening and suing podcasters. Though a press release might not be legally binding, the company will have a hard time justifying any further litigation (or threats of litigation) against podcasters. Any future targets can point to this statement. Carolla deserves recognition for getting this result.
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Adam Carolla Settles With Podcasting Patent Troll

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  • by frikken lazerz ( 3788987 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @05:31AM (#47701723)
    There's still little to no innovation because innovative simply doesn't sell. The big companies are afraid to take risks, and individuals with big ideas have to deal with so much red tape and bureaucracy that most of them don't even try. Unless by innovative you mean dumbing down the user interface even more to appeal to the least common denominator. If so, then there's craploads of innovation.
  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @06:36AM (#47701869) Homepage

    He should have pushed for court and had a judge rule then it would have murdered the whole thing and sent a clear message to all the other patent trolls.

    Now the trolls have the ability to come back later, picking a poor podcaster that can not fight back.

  • by engun ( 1234934 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @06:43AM (#47701895)
    The big corps would now have us believe that a special breed of troll called a "patent troll" is the only problem with the system, and they, like every entrepreneur, are merely victims. This is all just the same manipulative BS. The patent troll exists only because the patent system is broken. Fix the problem at its root and patent trolls will be irrelevant.
  • by usuallylost ( 2468686 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @10:11AM (#47702959)

    The reason I say it is a silver lining is that the money Adam Carolla lost is mostly crowd funded money. So a lot of people lost $20 each. The trolls didn't bankrupt him, it appears that they didn't succeed in forcing him to pay and they very likely lost ~$500,000 out of pocket. So for the trolls this is a net loss. Depriving them of funds, generating publicity for the cause and having them fail at their goals are all good things. Not as good as winning an outright victory but better than losing to them.

    Lawyers as a general rule are loath to see anything that generates legal activity go away. No matter how abusive of the system it is. Just look at how much money lawyers spend defeating any measure that might be construed as tort reform. Still at the end of the day when a lawyer is being paid, assuming the lawyer isn't a crook, they generally act in their client's interests or at least within the confines of the client's instructions. From the point of view of the individual lawyers involved the very best thing that could happen is this case drags on for years and they get to bill a lot more hours. A case like this is a gravy train for lawyers and now it is ending.

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming