Bonum Certa Men Certa

Multimedia Software Patents Declared Invalid in the United States

The long and destructive tail of faulty or shoddy patent examination

A snake



Summary: A look at a highly destructive software patent (on podcasting) reaching a dead end only after the well-funded EFF stepped in and another new court decision which ruled a video streaming patent invalid

TECHRIGHTS spent many years writing about the infamous "podcasting patent" -- a patent which was used to shake down many small businesses and even hobbyists. Not only was such a patent not justified to begin with; it deliberately targeted those without incentive to fight back in court (as it's expensive).



The EFF stepped in some years back and two days ago it reported the latest in a press release by Daniel Nazer. It says:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will urge a federal appeals court at a hearing Thursday to find that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) correctly invalidated key claims of a patent owned by Personal Audio, which had used the patent to threaten podcasters big and small.

EFF is defending a USPTO ruling it won last year in its petition challenging the validity of key claims of Personal Audio’s patent. EFF argued, and the USPTO agreed, that the claimed invention existed before Personal Audio filed its patent application.


So even the USPTO, which granted this patent in the first place, agreed/admitted/acknowledged that it had made an error. How many people and businesses have so far been harmed (financial impact, health impact etc.) by this terrible judgment? Who will be held accountable for it? There will never be proper compensation, let along a refund. Even without Alice -- as the above clearly notes that it boils down to prior art -- this patent should never have existed.

Looking elsewhere in the news, patent lawyers (as usual, Tyrus Cartwright from Seyfarth Shaw LLP in this case) only cover (or cherry-pick, or scrape the bottom of the barrel for) cases that end up in favour of software patents*, but if one looks a little further at the latest in the docket (patent lawsuits, not PTAB), "Video Streaming Patents [Are Found] Invalid Under 35 U.S.C. €§ 101". To quote: "The court granted defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings because the asserted claims of plaintiff’s video streaming patents encompassed unpatentable subject matter and found that the claims were directed toward an abstract idea. "[T]he claims are directed to an abstract idea because the claims are not directed to an improvement in computer functionality, and the physical components of the claim merely provide a generic environment for carrying out the abstract idea. . . . The court is not persuaded that the claimed invention results in an improvement to computer functionality. [Plaintiff] did not invent the technology that converts video files into streaming format. . . . Moreover, [plaintiff] was not confronted with the problem of how to combine conversion technology and the Internet, or how to associate identification tags with video files. At most, the claims merely automate a sequence of known steps using conventional technology so that a human is not burdened with various manual steps. . . . The ordered arrangement of such conventional features provides no discernable benefits to computer functionality. This stands in stark contrast to claims which achieved such improvements to computing technology.""

Software patents die every week if not every day in the US (PTAB decisions are more frequent than court decisions). Things have gotten so out of hand for software patents proponents that they doubt Yahoo's patent portfolio is worth much at all; today Forbes asks, "could Pokemon Go's profit engine be derailed by challenges to the software patents underlying the game?"

Well, not really. Nintendo can afford going to court and since software patents typically die there, Nintendo will endure. In fact, post-Alice it's unlikely that any firm (even patent troll) will bother suing. _____ * In this case [PDF], "patents-in-suit are directed to inventions that verify the delivery and integrity of electronic messages" as judged by PTAB, not actual courts. Not all avenues/means have been exhausted and the analysis is not as thorough as can be.

Recent Techrights' Posts

[Meme/Photography] Photos From the Tux Machines Parties
took nearly a fortnight
SLAPP as an Own Goal
We have better things to with our limited time
GNU/Linux at New Highs (Again) in Taiwan
latest numbers
Dr. John Campbell on Gates Foundation
Published two days ago
How Much IBM Really Cares About Software Freedom (Exactly One Year Ago IBM Turned RHEL Into Proprietary Software)
RHEL became proprietary software
 
Links 23/06/2024: Hey Hi (AI) Scrapers Gone Very Rogue, Software Patents Squashed at EPO
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Saturday, June 22, 2024
IRC logs for Saturday, June 22, 2024
Gemini Links 23/06/2024: LoRaWAN and Gemini Plugin for KOReade
Links for the day
Links 22/06/2024: Chat Control Vote Postponed, More Economic Perils
Links for the day
Uzbekistan: GNU/Linux Ascent
Uzbekistan is almost the same size as France
Independence From Monopolies
"They were ethnically GAFAM anyway..."
Links 22/06/2024: More Layoffs and Health Scares
Links for the day
Rwanda: Windows Falls Below 30%
For the first time since 2020 Windows is measured below 30%
[Meme] IBM Lost the Case Over "Dinobabies" (and People Died)
IBM agreed to pay to keep the details (and embarrassing evidence) secret; people never forgot what IBM called its staff that wasn't young, this keeps coming up in forums
Exactly One Year Ago RHEL Became Proprietary Operating System
Oh, you want the source code of RHEL? You need to pay me money and promise not to share with anyone
Melinda Gates Did Not Trust Bill Gates, So Why Should You?
She left him because of his ties to child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein
Fedora Week of Diversity 2024 Was Powered by Proprietary Software
If instead of opening up to women and minorities we might open up to proprietary software, i.e. become less open
18 Countries in Europe Where Windows Fell Below 30% "Market Share"
Many people still use laptops with Windows, but they're outnumbered by mobile users on Android
[Meme] EPO Pensions in the UK
pensioners: looks like another EPO 'reform'
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Friday, June 21, 2024
IRC logs for Friday, June 21, 2024
During Fedora Week of Diversity (FWD) 2024 IBM and Its Subsidiaries Dragged to Court Over Discrimination at the Corporate Level
IBM is a deplorable, racist company
Workers of the European Patent Office Take the Office to Court Over Pension
pensions still precarious
Gemini Links 22/06/2024: FreeBSD vs XFCE and Gemini Bookmarks Syncing Solution
Links for the day
Links 21/06/2024: Matrimony Perils and US-Sponsored COVID-19 Misinformation
Links for the day
"A coming cybersecurity schism" by Dr. Andy Farnell
new from Dr. Andy Farnell
Links 21/06/2024: Overpopulation, Censorship, and Conflicts
Links for the day
IBM and Subsidiaries Sued for Ageism (Not Just for Racism)
This is already being discussed
UEFI is Against Computer Security, Its True Goal is to Curtail Adoption of GNU/Linux and BSDs on Existing or New PCs
the world is moving away from Windows
[Meme] Chat Control (EU) is All About Social Control
It won't even protect children
The Persistent Nature of Freedom Isn't About Easy Routes
Resistance to oppression takes effort and sometimes money
EFF Not Only Lobbies for TikTok (CPC) But for All Social Control Media, Irrespective of Known Harms as Explained by the US Government
The EFF's own "free speech" people reject free speech
Microsoft's Search (Bing) Fell From 3.3% to 1% in Turkey Just Since the LLM Hype Began
Bing fell sharply in many other countries
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Thursday, June 20, 2024
IRC logs for Thursday, June 20, 2024
The Real FSF Lost Well Over a Million Dollars Since the Defamation Attacks on Its Founder
2020-2023 income: -$659,756, -$349,927, -$227,857, and -$686,366, respectively
The Fake FSF ('FSF Europe') Connected to Novell Via SUSE, Not Just Via Microsoft (Repeated 'Donations')
'FSF Europe' is an imposter organisation
Just Less Than 3 Hours After Article on Debian Suicide Cluster Debian's Donald Norwood Recycles a Fortnight-Old 'Hit Piece'
The fall of Debian is its attack on its very own volunteers