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08.16.16

Personal Audio LLC and Patent Troll Jim Logan Demonstrate the Harms of Software Patents and Why They Must Never Spread to Europe

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 12:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“James Logan freely admits that he’s never made a podcast,” according to USA Today (source of the photo below)

Jim Logan of Personal Audio

Summary: Jim Logan of Personal Audio (a notorious Texas-based patent troll) is still fighting with his bogus patent, having already caused enormous damage with a single software patent that should never have been granted in the first place (due to prior art, not just Alice)

THE USPTO‘s examiners have been so eager to grant patents and perhaps so out of touch that they granted a patent on podcasting to some parasite, in spite of extensive evidence of prior art (even the Patent Office has acknowledged this by now). As a result, many innocent people with a podcast had been hit (extorted) until the EFF stepped in to help. We last wrote about this earlier in the month and it turns out that after years of disputes the patent troll (which is the patent holder) is still not giving up. Just look what a monumental mess just one single erroneous grant by the USPTO has caused!

“Just look what a monumental mess just one single erroneous grant by the USPTO has caused!”Joe Mullin says that the “[p]odcasting patent troll fights EFF on appeal, hoping to save itself” (this patent is pretty much its entire capital/existence*). To quote:

The owner of a patent on podcasting is hoping to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Personal Audio and its owner, Jim Logan, lost their patent last year after lawyers from the Electronic Frontier Foundation showed the US Patent and Trademark Office that various types of Internet broadcasts pre-date the patent, which claims a 1996 priority date.

The podcasting patent became famous and received national media attention after it was used to sue several high-profile podcasters, including Adam Carolla, who raised $500,000 and fought back for a time before reaching a settlement in 2014. Personal Audio had also sued several big TV networks, and its case against CBS went to a jury in September 2014. The jury found the patent valid and awarded Personal Audio $1.3 million, a victory that Personal Audio’s lawyers have noted in their appeal arguments.

The controversy is now in the hands of the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the court that handles all patent appeals. A three-judge panel heard arguments over the matter earlier this month.

Let this become a famous example of why software patents are a great menace to everyone, not just to developers. Sites of patent lawyers continue to advocate for software patents under the guise of ‘analysis’ (cherry-picking by patent lawyers who still resort to Enfish, despite admitting that it changed little or nothing at all) and WatchTroll, a vocal proponent of software patents, asks a loaded question in his latest headline, “Would Monopoly® be patent ineligible under Alice?”

“There should be absolutely no software patents in Europe (no matter what Battistelli does to ruin the EPO and crush the EPC these days), especially now that the USPTO demotes these.”Here again is the regression/resort/retreat to Enfish and BASCOM hype, as if two decisions among many hundreds will somehow salvage software patents as a whole. To quote WatchTroll: “The application of the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice v. CLS Bank by the Federal Circuit has been disappointing, to say the least. There have been some rays of hope for innovators with decisions in DDR Holdings, Enfish and BASCOM, but these bright spots shine so radiantly because they are scattered in a sea of despair.”

Despair to who? To patent law firms, i.e. not to actual development powerhouses and/or programmers.

We regret to see the Battistelli-run EPO being lured into software patenting in spite of the EPC. There are already misplaced priorities which favour large US-based companies at the EPO and the EPO increasingly uses the term “ICT”, which some can interpret as a vague insinuation/synonym of software patenting. See this pair of new tweets [1, 2] that ask: “Know how US & European practice differs for ICT applications?”

There should be absolutely no software patents in Europe (no matter what Battistelli does to ruin the EPO and crush the EPC these days), especially now that the USPTO demotes these. “Ever been to EPOPIC? Here are this year’s topics,” the EPO now writes in relation to an upcoming event. Looking at the sidebar under “key events” we see “ICT seminar 2016″ and “Indo-European conference on ICT-related patents 2016″, so there’s clearly some kind of a trend developing. The UPC threatened to bring software patents to Europe (so said multiple domain experts) and also bring patent trolls like Jim Logan. It’s a true danger when people like Battistelli race to the bottom in the name of “production” (even if it’s faked).
_______
* Wikipedia says the firm, which is a “Texas-based company,” was “formed to enforce two patents applied to podcasting.” It’s described as a “patent holding company” (euphemism for troll).

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