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.

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Companies: volomedia

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Comments on “Company Claims Patent On Pretty Much All Podcasting”

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Valkor says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

staff1 (profile) says:

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.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Dave Winer did it first.

11 january 2001, Dave Winer describes podcasting:

He tweeted about it earlier today: (on this news story)
and (on his first description of what would later be known as podcasting)

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

thomas says:

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.

Jason says:


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!

MikeIP says:

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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