Appeals Court Agrees: Awful Patent Used To Shake Down Podcasters Is Invalid
from the good-news dept
Hey, a bit of good news! For years now we’ve covered the saga of Personal Audio, the “company” that claimed it held a patent (US Patent 8,112,504) that covered podcasting itself. The actual patent is about delivering news on audio cassettes, but give lawyers enough old patents and they’ll twist them to be about anything. The company sent threat letters to a bunch of popular podcasts, and actually sued a few. EFF filed to invalidate the patent back in 2013 and finally succeeded in 2015. But… Personal Audio appealed.
EFF had filed what’s known as an Inter Partes Review (IPR) process, pointing out some prior art and arguing “obviousness” as well, and the Patent Office review board had agreed. Personal Audio tried to argue that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) misconstrued some of its claims, but the court notes that they’re the freaking patent office, and they can construe claims however they want. Well, that’s not quite how it was put, but:
The PTAB is authorized to construe the claims in accordance with their broadest reasonable interpretation…
It then goes through and affirms all of how PTAB construed the various claims, saying they are perfectly reasonable constructions and then concludes, simply:
We have considered all of Personal Audio?s arguments, and affirm the PTAB?s conclusion that the challenged claims are anticipated by the Patrick/CBC reference, and alternatively that the claims are invalid as obvious in view of the Compton/CNN reference.
And thus, the patent is still invalid. Personal Audio can appeal to the Supreme Court (which seems unlikely to take such a straightforward case), but EFF says it’s ready if it does go that far:
?Although we?re happy that this patent is still invalid, Personal Audio could seek review at the Supreme Court,? said Vera Ranieri, Staff Attorney at EFF. ?We?ll be there if they do.?