CBS Loses Lawsuit Brought By Podcast Patent Troll, But It's Not Over Yet

from the not-over-yet dept

For a while now, we’ve been following the saga of Personal Audio, the patent troll who argues that patent 8,112,504 covers podcasting and all other “episodic” content delivered over the internet. There are all sorts of problems with this claim, not the least of which is how Personal Audio was able to make “changes” to the patent long after podcasting had become popular in order to make it look more like the patent covered the concept. While Personal Audio agreed to drop its lawsuits against individual podcasters, it kept its case going against the big broadcasters: CBS, NBC and Fox.

The trial (in East Texas, of course) for CBS came first and the jury sided with Personal Audio, because that’s how East Texas patent juries typically roll. In a moment of semi-kindness, the jury awarded Personal Audio $1.3 million, rather than the nearly $8 million they supposedly requested. This story is really just a stepping stone, however. CBS has made it clear that it will appeal the case to CAFC, and given how software/business method patents are getting tossed out left and right these days, the company has a decent chance of prevailing. Meanwhile, the EFF reminds us that it’s still working hard to invalidate the patent at the Patent Office, which would help accelerate the process of killing off these bogus lawsuits. Also, while chances are the jury verdicts for NBC and Fox won’t be that different, perhaps an East Texas jury will actually get a clue one of these days…

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Companies: cbs, personal audio

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Comments on “CBS Loses Lawsuit Brought By Podcast Patent Troll, But It's Not Over Yet”

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19 Comments
That One Guy (profile) says:

To stand or buckle?

Given CBS went first and lost(which, given the case was in east Texas should surprise all of no-one), with NBC and Fox still being sued I would assume, I’m betting the troll is going to be pushing hard for them to settle rather than fight it out, using this case as ‘evidence’ that NBC/Fox will likely lose unless the case is heard elsewhere, and it’ll just be quicker to pay the parasite off.

Hopefully NBC/Fox will hold their ground and wait and see how the appeals go, rather than folding, but with how screwed up the system is, where defending yourself still takes obscene amounts of money, I worry they’ll just take the easy way out and pay up.

JEDIDIAH says:

Re: We shall fight on the beaches...

Well… NBC and Fox can afford to fight. Therefore they should fight. This patent is so bad that they should at least restrict it’s perpetrator to a “victory” that’s so hard fought that it’s simply not profitable.

Give them no easy victory. Make them fight for every inch. Make them pay as much to litigate as they might get in terms of an award.

They need to discourage the next guy or there will be no end to this.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: We shall fight on the beaches...

Unfortunately being able to fight isn’t always the deciding factor, lawsuits are so insanely expensive these days that often just paying up is seen as both easier and cheaper.

When fighting can take over a million, even if you win, and settling costs ‘only’ a couple hundred grand, often companies that know they could win in court(as long as it’s not in East Texas) will just pay up to save time and money.

Should they fight, given they have the money to do so? Absolutely. The problem is the deck is stacked heavily in the favor of the parasites sending out the shakedown letters, and everyone knows it.

Anonymous Coward says:

The people of these communities in East Texas know on which side their bread is buttered.

Patent trials bring massive amounts of business to their communities. If they start voting to invalidate patents then that business will move elsewhere.

Human beings generally do what best benefits themselves, their family, their close friends and their immediate community. Then their self-centered human mind provides some handy rationalizations that allow them to believe that they are doing the “right” thing.

Insurgence (profile) says:

I find the patent and copyright lawsuits in Texas to be funny. Really, they should just be a day long affair so that everyone can move along to the appeals court. Just have a sheet of paper that the 2 parts rubber stamp with arguments and counter arguments, and the judge quickly finds in favor the plaintiff. You can even apply for the custom made rubber stamps ahead of time.

I understand why the defendants go through it all, but I honestly think someone needs just remove Texas from the whole thing.

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