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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  • identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2014 @ 8:54pm

    Writing on the Wall

    The supreme court says no to software/business method patents.

    The CAFC says (reluctantly) oh, OK.

    When is the Patent office going to read the writing on the wall?

    Or is there some rule whereby they cannot go back and correct known errors unless some litigation takes place?

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 17 Sep 2014 @ 9:07pm

      Re: Writing on the Wall

      Correcting prior errors would require them to admit that they were wrong before, and no politician or 'public servant' ever likes to do that if they can possibly avoid it.

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

      • icon
        eaving (profile), 17 Sep 2014 @ 9:22pm

        Re: Re: Writing on the Wall

        'I was wrong.' No, I agree, almost never. 'My predecessor was wrong.' while shaking ones head sadly? I tried and true tradition they could take advantage of.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 17 Sep 2014 @ 8:57pm

    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.

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

    • identicon
      JEDIDIAH, 18 Sep 2014 @ 7:57am

      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.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 18 Sep 2014 @ 10:19am

        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.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2014 @ 9:32pm

    Attention!

    The writing on the wall is subject to copyright terms. Any understanding, comprehension, or recognition of said writing is strictly prohibited.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2014 @ 1:59am

    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.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2014 @ 5:17am

      Re:

      Except for people who serve on juries, it pays basically $0. It makes them little more then $1 an hour, and most people hate jury duty.

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

      • icon
        Richard (profile), 18 Sep 2014 @ 5:37am

        Re: Re:

        Except for people who serve on juries, it pays basically $0. It makes them little more then $1 an hour, and most people hate jury duty.
        Consequently juries are composed entirely of people who are to stupid to get out of jury duty!

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2014 @ 7:25am

        Re: Re:

        Odds are, everybody has a personal connection. What percentage of the population in East Texas do you suppose has either a close friend or family member that makes their living from the legal industry?

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

      • identicon
        Baron von Robber, 18 Sep 2014 @ 8:14am

        Re: Re:

        $40 a day in my district.

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

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 18 Sep 2014 @ 10:54am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Also, in my part of the country anyway, most of the major employers grant their employees paid time off for jury duty -- so they aren't even losing anything from their paychecks.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2014 @ 5:31am

    I wonder what the yearly salary for an east Texas juror is.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2014 @ 6:22am

    I heard that in E. Tex it helps if you purchase a bull before your trial starts.

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

  • icon
    bgmcb (profile), 18 Sep 2014 @ 8:03am

    Has anyone checked for "lottery" wins by former East Texas jurors?

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

  • icon
    Insurgence (profile), 18 Sep 2014 @ 2:20pm

    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.

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


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