Company Claims Patent On Pretty Much All Podcasting

from the this-ought-to-be-fun dept

VoloMedia, an online ad tools company, is gleefully declaring that it has been awarded a patent on podcasting. The specific patent, 7,568,213, is for a "Method for providing episodic media content." Not surprisingly, it's a continuation patent (sometimes referred to as a submarine patent) where the claims are changed over time to keep current with what's happening in the market. The patent itself is short, with the main claim being:
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.
I have a lot of trouble understanding how this is possibly patentable. I would think that Dave Winer's work on enclosures for audio content in RSS would be seen as significant prior art. Beyond just the prior art, you have to wonder how this passes the "bilski" test (what was transformed here?) or the KSR/Teleflex test on obviousness (this is simply combining things that were already out there). Still, expect plenty of trouble here. Considering that Volo wasted no time at all in rushing out a press release, expect them to be aggressive with this patent -- without realizing that it may be unleashing significant anger from the podcasting community that it probably doesn't want.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anotehr AC, Jul 29th, 2009 @ 12:15pm

    If Only...

    The USPTO would read techdirt, the world would be a better place.

     

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    Valkor, Jul 29th, 2009 @ 12:45pm

    Crack legal intimidation

    I kind of hope that Apple preemptively sues him to defend iTunes. It might be more fun to watch VoloMedia try to sue Apple instead. Either way, Apple is going to own this guy, then we'll need the EFF to try to invalidate the patent. You know Apple won't try to have it invalidated on principle.

     

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      Avatar28 (profile), Jul 30th, 2009 @ 11:11am

      Re: Crack legal intimidation

      @Valkor Not just Apple. Microsoft too with the Zune would also fall under this. Probably some others as well. If those two both get on the same side in trying to take these guys down they may have bitten off more than they can chew. We all know they've both got rabidly vicious lawyers.

       

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    Weird Harold's former #5 fan, Jul 29th, 2009 @ 12:51pm

    Has VoloMedia purchased any cows in East Texas yet? ;)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 29th, 2009 @ 1:04pm

    That kinda sounds like a scheduled TIVO

     

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    Dave04, Jul 29th, 2009 @ 1:10pm

    Actually, that sounds broad enough that just about any cable company should be worried...

     

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    Chris (profile), Jul 29th, 2009 @ 1:23pm

    That's incredibly broad wording.

    We really do need to disband the USPTO.

     

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      DJ (profile), Jul 29th, 2009 @ 1:50pm

      Re:

      I wholeheartedly agree.

      I'm no lawyer, so all I got out of reading that was "A method for providing...channel depth."

      The fact that there is a NEED to have legal copy written that way is so ridiculous... but that's a whole different topic.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 29th, 2009 @ 1:45pm

    Sounds like this should cover DVR also.

     

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    DJ (profile), Jul 29th, 2009 @ 1:52pm

    WTF??

    Holy run-on sentences, Batman!!

     

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    STJ, Jul 29th, 2009 @ 1:57pm

    How do I get one

    OK, I want to put a patient in for the ability of putting meat and/or vegs inbetween 2 slices of a cooked wheat product. How do I get this started?

     

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      DJ (profile), Jul 29th, 2009 @ 2:16pm

      Re: How do I get one

      You might want to ask the Earl of Sandwich.

      BTW if you laughed at that because you think it sounds silly, you need to look up the history of "the sandwich".

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 29th, 2009 @ 2:10pm

    Apple, bend over.

     

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    Curious Bystander, Jul 29th, 2009 @ 2:13pm

    Podcasting

    I'm telling 'ya. It's time to get together and go after these idiots with torches and farm implements!

    Seriously, what ever happened to producing a real product? It seems so much profit is being made off lame-ass patents people have forgotten how to be really creative!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 29th, 2009 @ 2:58pm

    Show me ONE other country that would entertain this patent in their courts?

    Thats the thing, all you have to do is NOT do business in the US and you're fairly free to innovate unencumbered. I can't honestly think of any good reason to own a technology company based in the USA. It's one massive liability with dreadful exposure to legal sleaze and grand standing politicians.

    Starting a web or software company in Brazil for example, carries a lower tax burden, indemnity from the USPTO's insanity while at the same time, grants you access to the exact same market via the internet.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 29th, 2009 @ 3:36pm

    I consider TV episodes, windows updates, books, journals, magazines, any newspaper with follow up stories, video game sequels, and maybe birthday cards to be 'episodic media' also. Volomedia owns the universe.

     

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    staff1, Jul 29th, 2009 @ 4:27pm

    stop the shilling!!!

    "Not surprisingly, it's a continuation patent (sometimes referred to as a submarine patent) where the claims are changed over time to keep current with what's happening in the market."

    If you knew what you were talking about, if you had ever prosecuted a patent application, you would know you can only claim what you disclose. Your accusations are unfounded and irrational. Changing your claims in prosecution is necessitated in response to office actions.

    A shill is a shill.

     

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      CleverName, Jul 29th, 2009 @ 6:23pm

      Re: stop the shilling!!!

      Every time I see that "stop the shilling" subject line, I think of that person under the covers screaming
      "Leave Britney Alone !!"

      Too Funny

       

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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Jul 29th, 2009 @ 4:30pm

    Dave Winer did it first.

    11 january 2001, Dave Winer describes podcasting:
    http://www.thetwowayweb.com/payloadsForRss

    He tweeted about it earlier today:
    http://twitter.com/davewiner/status/2912174161 (on this news story)
    and
    http://twitter.com/davewiner/status/2912205012 (on his first description of what would later be known as podcasting)

    This patent once again proves that the whole system is broken.

     

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    thomas, Jul 29th, 2009 @ 6:28pm

    The real question is,

    What will it take before that someone who can start a change with the patent process, actually stand up and make new laws reguarding patents. (someone should patent that).
    What they need to do is make it so only the original maker of the process/invention be able to create a patent. If they can not prove that they were the first to patent it, then they can not patent it. Meaning if the product or process already exsisted prior to the patent being filed then the person filling the patent is SOL... It would force people to patent something before sending it to market and put an end to the patent trolls once and for all. The patent office also need to look at all the patents created in the last few years and make those people with patents re-prove that they solely were the first to "invent/create" the idea. And if they can't prove it they lose the patent and have to pay back all royalties paid to them plus a HUGE fine for falsely stating that the idea is an original product of the person or persons claiming the patent.

     

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    RockDJ, Jul 29th, 2009 @ 10:43pm

    Let Them Eat Cake!!

    The patent system in the U.S is such a mess that eventually it will become so debased from it's original purpose then watch the excrement hit the fan. Enjoy while you can boys the party is nearly over.

     

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    Jason, Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 7:27am

    Patent

    Ok - First of all, nobody posting here has any real understanding of what goes on behind the scenes at the USPTO.

    For instance, I'm absolutely certain that nobody here has any idea what the "pencil" test is. I'm not going to waste my fingers trying to explain it to the likes of you people. It should be sufficient for me to say - rest assured - these claims PASS the pencil test!

     

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    MikeIP, Aug 5th, 2009 @ 2:24pm

    I actually agree that this should have been rejected under 101 (per Bilski), but there would have been pretty simple amendments made to overcome that rejection. As far as obviousness in light of audio-inclusive RSS, I would bet that the USPTO search tools did not show that as a result. Or perhaps the inventors could show materials that pre-dated even that if it were cited. In any case, don't let any of that ruin your little cry fest.

     

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    Gabe, Nov 22nd, 2009 @ 6:51am

    Yes Jason, because measuring word count is a great way to ascertain the legitimacy of a patent.

    Beyond the first sentence, it's merely a description of a concept and process that has already existed for quite some time. If that much isn't obvious to you, then you sir, are an idiot.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Gabe, Nov 22nd, 2009 @ 6:51am

    Yes Jason, because measuring word count is a great way to ascertain the legitimacy of a patent.

    Beyond the first sentence, it's merely a description of a concept and process that has already existed for quite some time. If that much isn't obvious to you, then you sir, are an idiot.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Gabe, Nov 22nd, 2009 @ 6:53am

    Yes Jason, because measuring word count is a great way to ascertain the legitimacy of a patent.

    Beyond the first sentence, it's merely a description of a concept and process that has already existed for quite some time. If that much isn't obvious to you, then you sir, are an idiot.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Gabe, Nov 22nd, 2009 @ 6:53am

    Yes Jason, because measuring word count is a great way to ascertain the legitimacy of a patent.

    Beyond the first sentence, it's merely a description of a concept and process that has already existed for quite some time. If that much isn't obvious to you, then you sir, are an idiot.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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