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Company Awarded "The Patent For Podcasting"

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the patent-for-obtaining-patents dept.

Patents 202

Chris Albrecht writes "VoloMedia announced today that it has been awarded what it called the 'patent for podcasting.' According to the press announcement, patent number 7,568,213, titled 'Method for Providing Episodic Media,' covers: '...the fundamental mechanisms of podcasting, including providing consumer subscription to a show, automatically downloading media to a computer, prioritizing downloads, providing users with status indication, deleting episodes, and synchronizing episodes to a portable media device.'"

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202 comments

Filed: October 9, 2008 (4, Informative)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875681)

This isn't even a submarine patent, it is just a another piss-poor USPTO decision. There is prior art for this all over the place. Heck the iPhone is prior art, and that is not even old.

Re:Filed: October 9, 2008 (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28875709)

You may be confused about what the "prior" means in prior art. Something that isn't older than the claim isn't prior.

Re:Filed: October 9, 2008 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28875933)

bwahahah! Hey liberals, do you really want these incompetent fucktards in charge of your health care?

Re:Filed: October 9, 2008 (-1, Troll)

alcmaeon (684971) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876925)

As far as I can tell, they are no different than the incompetent fucktards currently in charge of our health care. What is your point?

Re:Filed: October 9, 2008 (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28876079)

You may be confused about what "Filed: October 9, 2008" means.

Re:Filed: October 9, 2008 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28876887)

Mod parent up!

Re:Filed: October 9, 2008 (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28876975)

You seem to be confused about what "November 2003" means. You should be quiet now and let the adults discuss this.

Re:Filed: October 9, 2008 (5, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875779)

Was the aptent submitted before iTunes did podcasting?

"VoloMedia, which used be called Podbridge, filed for this particular patent in November 2003 â" a time, Navar said, before it was obvious that people would download episodic content such as podcasts."

Of course, it's crap. I had an ftp server where I created a 'digital diary' once a week for the first 6 months of my sons life, and that was in 1998.
Granted, they where only 2-3 minutes and linked to my 'web diary', but they where down loadable every week.

I hope Apple hands them their ass.

Re:Filed: October 9, 2008 (4, Informative)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876011)

Where do people get the idea that apple invented podcasting? It existed long before it was in itunes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_podcasting [wikipedia.org]

Anyway, this patent is BS.. just based on that history podcasts (albeit not called podcasts) existed in 2001.

Re:Filed: October 9, 2008 (1)

mathx314 (1365325) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876089)

I think it's not so much that people think that Apple invented podcasting as it is that if you can prove Apple offered podcasts prior to November 2003, then the patent is obviously bullshit.

Re:Filed: October 9, 2008 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28876607)

November 2002, as the rules for prior art dictate that it has to be public knowledge for a year before it is considered prior art.

Re:Filed: October 9, 2008 (1)

McNihil (612243) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876223)

Not only is it BS... it is the epitome of BS...

Having a couple of friends working as journalists for a "newspaper" for the blind (it is a real newspaper but its odd calling it that due it it not having a real paper copy at all) have done these so called pod casts since the "dawning of computer time." On normal Compact Cassettes.

The CC have been known to be played not only for the direct audience but also as a convenience for the people on the go.... also all those language courses on tape spring to mind... ney I am revising my "epitome of BS" to "the mother of all BS statements."

Re:Filed: October 9, 2008 (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876453)

Where do you get the idea that people think that Apple invented podcasting?

Saying that 'Apple did podcasting' is very different from, what you claim people are saying, that 'Apple invented podcasting'.

Anyway, yeah, this patent is BS, but check your facts.

Re:Filed: October 9, 2008 (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 4 years ago | (#28877245)

We don't care who invented podcasting. We just are pointing out that it is incredibly obvious that Apple supported it before 2008 (even if they didn't invent it). So we all wonder how this patent could realistically apply.

Re:Filed: October 9, 2008 (2, Interesting)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#28877285)

The patent was filed in 2003

"VoloMedia, which used be called Podbridge, filed for this particular patent in November 200

"CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application is a continuation and claims the priority benefit of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/717,183 filed Nov. 19, 2003 and entitled "Personalized Episodic Download Media Service," the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. The present application is related to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/717,176 filed Nov. 19, 2003 and entitled "Content Distribution Architecture," the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference."

Re:Filed: October 9, 2008 (1)

Pseudonym (62607) | more than 4 years ago | (#28877555)

Of course, all the elements were in place before November 2003 [wikipedia.org] . Notably absente from the patent is any reference to prior art by Kevin Marks or Dave Winer. Marks' RSS2iPod script, for example, was released in October of that year.

The only claim that post-dates November 2003 that I can see is that clients (along with things like intelligent cache management) have since been implemented directly on non-PC portable devices. Most sane people would consider that obvious: as portable devices get more powerful, more of the processing inevitably gets moved there.

Re:Filed: October 9, 2008 (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28875793)

Its related to an application from November 2003. So unless there's a problem with their priority claim - for anything to qualify as prior art it would have to be before November 2003 (and before November 2002 to be really dangerous to the patent at all).

Re:Filed: October 9, 2008 (5, Informative)

Banzai042 (948220) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875973)

According to the history of podcasting [wikipedia.org] article on wikipedia the system of using RSS for podcasts and the ability to get them onto an iPod was mature and in use by the time this patent was filed, so it would appear that prior art will indeed shut any efforts from VoloMedia to get money from this patent down.

Re:Filed: October 9, 2008 (5, Interesting)

justzisguy (573704) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876613)

I'm kinda feeling lazy right now, but with a fair amount of patent experience under my belt, I'd say the key limitations of '213 Carhart et al. are in bold below:

A method for providing episodic media, the method comprising: providing a user with access to a channel dedicated to episodic media, wherein the episodic media provided over the channel is pre-defined into one or more episodes by a remote publisher of the episodic media; receiving a subscription request to the channel dedicated to the episodic media from the user; automatically downloading updated episodic media associated with the channel dedicated to the episodic media to a computing device associated with the user in accordance with the subscription request upon availability of the updated episodic media, the automatic download occurring without further user interaction; and providing the user with: an indication of a maximum available channel depth, the channel depth indicating a size of episodic media yet to be downloaded from the channel and size of episodic media already downloaded from the channel, the channel depth being specified in playtime or storage resources, and the ability to modify the channel depth by deleting selected episodic media content, thereby overriding the previously configured channel depth.

Finding the old podcast applications and checking for that particular feature takes a bit of work. If anyone happens to have an old version of AmphetaDesk [wikipedia.org] or Radio UserLand [wikipedia.org] , perhaps they include a feature that would read on indicating channel depth. Remember, the prior art needs either to disclose each and every limitation of the claimed invention, or be combined with additional prior art that fills in the missing pieces, along with a motivating rational for combining the art.

Re:Filed: October 9, 2008 (3, Interesting)

stony3k (709718) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876683)

If there is prior art that is slightly different, but the changes are something that are pretty simple, wouldn't that meet the obviousness criteria?

Re:Filed: October 9, 2008 (5, Informative)

justzisguy (573704) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876883)

If there is prior art that is slightly different, but the changes are something that are pretty simple, wouldn't that meet the obviousness criteria?

It depends. If the difference is insignificant (e.g., inventor claims a blue button and the prior art indicates a red button, where the color of the button is arbitrary to the invention at hand), then no secondary art needs to be found to teach the insignificant feature. I'm guessing, however, that pretty simple refers to the ease of implementation. Remember that hindsight may not be relied upon. It is easy to add file sizes and track length to an RSS feed, but that has nothing to do with obviousness. To present a case for obviousness (if the bold limitations in my GP post are the ones missing), an ordinary person skilled in the art at the time the invention was made would have needed to combine the channel depth (file size and track length) concept with the podcasting idea. If some reference A about podcasting teaches all the limitations of the claim except for the channel depth, and reference B teaches channel depth in a similar application, and motivation for adding the channel depth can be found, then, and only then, is it an obvious limitation.

Re:Filed: October 9, 2008 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28875803)

According to the article, they filed in 2003.

Re:Filed: October 9, 2008 (4, Informative)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875923)

Looks bad to me, their claim seams legit, the actual fill date goes back to 2003 TA:

filed for this particular patent in November 2003 a time, Navar said, before it was obvious that people would download episodic content such as podcasts.

They are talking over the red phone with Apple now and it looks like their IP lawyers already rolled out the subpoena Gatling.

Dave Winer implemented it in 2000 (2, Informative)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876345)

And what do subpoena have to do with anything here? Everything that's needed is public.

Re:Dave Winer implemented it in 2000 (1)

arb phd slp (1144717) | more than 4 years ago | (#28877135)

And what do subpoena have to do with anything here? Everything that's needed is public.

Discovery can to more than just collect evidence. It can also:
put the fear of God into their legal team,
force their legal team to hire more staff and pay overtime to make photocopies/scans,
disrupt the smaller company's day-to-day business with busy-work,
force them to provide more rope with which to hang them.

Re:Filed: October 9, 2008 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28876029)

anonymous coward strikes again!

Re:Filed: October 9, 2008 (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876219)

In this case, the important feature is the channel depth stuff recited in the independent claim. Are any of the podcasting experts out there familiar with this limitation and how it relates to the prior art?

NOT Filed: October 9, 2008 (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#28877163)

This isn't even a submarine patent, it is just a another piss-poor USPTO decision. There is prior art for this all over the place. Heck the iPhone is prior art, and that is not even old.

And this gets an "insightful"? It's the first sentence of the patent:

The present application is a continuation and claims the priority benefit of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/717,183 filed Nov. 19, 2003

I suppose it's useful, though. Anyone who thinks the filing date is 2008 is immediately disqualified from discussing anything about the patent system until they've learned even the most basic items.

You read the claims? (1)

ProfBooty (172603) | more than 4 years ago | (#28877713)

1. A method for providing episodic media, the method comprising: providing a user with access to a channel dedicated to episodic media, wherein the episodic media provided over the channel is pre-defined into one or more episodes by a remote publisher of the episodic media; receiving a subscription request to the channel dedicated to the episodic media from the user; automatically downloading updated episodic media associated with the channel dedicated to the episodic media to a computing device associated with the user in accordance with the subscription request upon availability of the updated episodic media, the automatic download occurring without further user interaction; and providing the user with: an indication of a maximum available channel depth, the channel depth indicating a size of episodic media yet to be downloaded from the channel and size of episodic media already downloaded from the channel, the channel depth being specified in playtime or storage resources, and the ability to modify the channel depth by deleting selected episodic media content, thereby overriding the previously configured channel depth.

A number of things need to be provided to the user, namely all of the bolded claim language above,namely providing to the user among other things channel depth information which includes both the episode data amount previously downloaded as well as yet to be downloaded expressed as playtime or storage resources.

Oh dear! (1)

kspn78 (1116833) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875693)

I can't imagine this going well :|

Although I would have thought that this would have been covered under 'prior art'?

I wonder if they infringe on apple? (2, Funny)

allaunjsilverfox2 (882195) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875701)

Since they are basically describing a function in iTunes, i wonder if they will run afoul of apple and their "Lawyers of Doom" (TM).

Re:I wonder if they infringe on apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28875771)

Apple didn't invent podcasting. The name is only cause ipods are commonly used to listen to podcasts.

Re:I wonder if they infringe on apple? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876369)

Sort of like how iPod is now used as the generic term for MP3 player.

Re:I wonder if they infringe on apple? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28876385)

Call it a "Walkman", it annoys the hell out of the iZealots.

Prefuckingposterous (2, Insightful)

deprecated (86120) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875715)

There is nothing in this that even approaches the reality that anyone except an IP lawyer works in. FFS.

Re:Prefuckingposterous (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28875743)

And seriously, I would think RSS feeds would prove that this was intended before they did it. Assholes.

Podcasting is obvious. (4, Insightful)

chickenarise (1597941) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875763)

Didn't RTFA, but podcasting became popular as two things emerged in a large population:
  • greater bandwiïdth
  • cheap digital storage

When you don't have the means to distribute "large" media, nor the means to easily consume that media, then there is no place for podcasting. Once you have those means, however, "providing consumer subscription to a show, automatically downloading media to a computer, prioritizing downloads, providing users with status indication, deleting episodes, and synchronizing episodes to a portable media device" are all just obvious extensions to how people will obtain their media.

Will the madness ever end? (2, Insightful)

Knoeki (1149769) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875769)

Seriously, is it ever possible to not patent every single fart that you think of?

Re:Will the madness ever end? (2, Funny)

oroborous (800136) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875929)

it sure is with our current USPTO... so long as you have the money to patent your flatulences!

What's in a name? (2, Insightful)

gnapster (1401889) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875785)

Isn't the 'pod' in podcasting from the iPod (or really the iTunes mechanism for downloading things to the iPod)? Does this not imply prior art in and of itself?

Re:What's in a name? (2, Informative)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#28877473)

Feel free to read anything related to this, but they don't refer to it as "podcasting" in the patent from 2003. That's just what the headline says. The term is more recent than the patent.

Thanks again, /. (4, Insightful)

gravesb (967413) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875795)

for making me click through to get to the actual patent. Anyway, from reading some of the patent, it looks like they were trying to patent something at least somewhat interesting and unique. However, claim 1--the only independent claim--pretty clearly covers iTunes, among other prior art. I am not sure if it was bad drafting or bad intent, but I would not bring this to Apple's attention if I were the company. I've read some patent applications were the value added was miniscule, and the only way to see it is to look at some of the prosecution history. Maybe that's the case here, but I am too lazy to dig through the history. With a filing date of 2003, I doubt this will survive much scrutiny. That sucks if this company was trying to do something interesting. That's great if they are trolling.

Re:Thanks again, /. (1)

basementman (1475159) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875967)

And does Slashdot actually care? The patent was filed more than 5 years ago, is prior art and will be totally ignored. Oh boy.

Re:Thanks again, /. (2, Insightful)

radtea (464814) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876181)

for making me click through to get to the actual patent

Yeah, you'd think that being told EVERY SINGLE TIME a patent story is put on /. that the only thing that matters is the claims, the loser "editors" here would stop repeating statements from a press release or the patent abstract and falsely claiming that they describe what is patented. /. editors are either ignorant of the most basic facts about the American patent system, or wilful liars.

Either way, it gets awfully tiresome.

Ooops, prior art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28875801)

Aren't they basically admitting outright that prior art exists by referring to podcasting?

So as long as... (1)

wasmoke (1055116) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875809)

"synchronizing episodes to a portable media device" is not present, you can do whatever you want right?
I don't think this seems like a patent for podcasting so much as a patent for sort of an all inclusive...thing.

Is that all then? (1)

dmomo (256005) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875901)

Patent Schmatent. Apple already has just invented something that IMPROVES upon that. It's called the podcast. It's also capable providing meta data to an online store and supports multiple channels. This version works on iPods too!

I'm no patent lawyer.... (1)

oroborous (800136) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875909)

...so I might be wrong. But even if they did have the foresight in 2003 to describe the exact technology of Podcasting (as executed in iTunes) before there was prior art for the idea, doesn't existing patented technology utilizing their structure (i.e. iTunes) nullify their claim? Or does the fact that they applied BEFORE there was prior art give them a "first-come-first-serve" access to the patent?

Either way, I assume we've got ourselves a cute little patent-troll baby developing here.

Why yes, I am a registered patent attorney... (5, Informative)

Zordak (123132) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876377)

doesn't existing patented technology utilizing their structure (i.e. iTunes) nullify their claim?

I'm not sure I understand your question. You seem to be saying that the existence of a commercially-available infringing product invalidates the patent. But if that were the case, patents would be worthless. To be patentable, your invention has to be new and non-obvious (yes, I know there's more than that, I'm simplifying; this is not legal advice and so forth). It doesn't matter if it infringes another patent, or if somebody else successfully builds your product while your patent is pending, or even if somebody improves on your invention and gets a patent on the improvement. In fact, from a patent-holder's perspective, there's nothing better than to come up with a really brilliant idea, file for a patent, and while it's pending, $MEGACORP makes an infringing product (intentionally or not), spruces it up, and creates a huge market for your invention. Hooray for solvent defendants!

If you want to kill this thing (and I'm not recommending you should---I don't personally care), the best way to do it is to find a document published anywhere in the world before November 2002 (1 year before they filed) that has all the elements of their claims. It doesn't matter what the abstract is, or what the title says, or what's in the specification, or even that the inventor calls it "the podcasting patent." All that matters is the claims. You find a reference that has each and every limitation in the claims, and those claims are dead. Nothing anybody has done since November 2003 matters to these claims, and anything between November 2002 and November 2003 will just provoke litigation over first-to-invent (which is fine for the lawyers, but not so good for anybody else). So I think it's premature to just assume these claims are invalid.

And before people start modding me troll, I'm not saying I'm a fan of patent trolls. I've defended several cases against patent trolls, and there's nothing more frustrating than having to fight a litigious plaintiff with a bad patent. I am saying that there's such a thing as a valid patent (despite what many Slashdotters would like to believe), and even such a thing as a valid computer-related patent, and if you're lucky enough to have one and win a case against a solvent defendant, it's a great day. I don't call "troll" until I've thoroughly reviewed the claims, the allegedly-infringing product, the specification, and the prior art. And nobody has hired me to do that, so I probably won't, because it takes a long time.

Re:Why yes, I am a registered patent attorney... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28876755)

Here: http://www.thetwowayweb.com/payloadsforrss

Re:Why yes, I am a registered patent attorney... (1, Interesting)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#28877209)

So I think it's premature to just assume these claims are invalid.

As another registered patent person (agent), I would point out that this is slashdot, and any discussion of patents (or intellectual property in general) here is usually 180 degrees from reality: "The title is the patent!", "Copyright is a violation of free speech!", "You can't trademark a name!"

bad for US companies (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28875917)

the other 194 countries who do not recognize US patents its probably a good thing, nothing like a government eliminating its own companies from the worlds competition.

iam more interested in the patenting "end game" in the US, with every year as more of their IP gets locked up it will come to a point where its just not possible to do business at all in the US without infringing a patent or 3 and so simply it will be better and more profitable for companies to do business and innovate outside of the USA
leaving the US sitting in court with its millions of lawyers jerking each other off while the ROTW just gets on with business as usual, what exactly is the end game ? and what happens when you get there ?

what i do know is 3 billion Chinese and 1.4 billion Indians not to mention Europe should take up the slack quite nicely in the future (hint: they already are, seen your universities students country of origin makeup recently? they are taking all that knowledge right back to their own countries).

Re:bad for US companies (1, Informative)

Zordak (123132) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876407)

the other 194 countries who do not recognize US patents its probably a good thing, nothing like a government eliminating its own companies from the worlds competition.

You do realize that those other countries have their own patent laws, don't you? And a clever U.S. inventor can even file patent applications in the foreign countries that matter. In fact, we have a treaty (called the Patent Cooperation Treaty) that lets you file a single application that you can then send out to different countries within a couple of years. If I want to shut down competition in Europe, I'll file in Europe.

Re:bad for US companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28876537)

You can file... but you won't get a software patent in Europe.

Re:bad for US companies (2, Insightful)

sadler121 (735320) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876651)

iirc, you can get a software patent in Europe, it just won't be enforced. something about US Software Companies hammering the EU Commission for software patents. They won't take no for an answer, they continue to push for them. But they also want to make sure they get their patent so when the day comes, they will have something to enforce.

Re:bad for US companies (2, Interesting)

oiron (697563) | more than 4 years ago | (#28877387)

Even under the PCT, you can't really patent something that's not patentable in that country. China for example, uses this tactic:

  1. Patent application gets filed under PCT
  2. China takes a look and rejects it
  3. The patent is now in public domain
  4. ...
  5. Profit

The patent is valid everywhere except China in this case. They just rejected it.

Re:Wait! There IS a ROTW?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28877401)

Sorry, couldn't resist.

That should go over real well (2, Insightful)

Lorien_the_first_one (1178397) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875937)

it will take several lawsuits costing millions before the patent is examined. And I doubt if there anything non-obvious here. Say, didn't the USPTO review their guidelines with respect to KSR and Bilski?

Re:That should go over real well (3, Insightful)

soren.harward (1153) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876303)

Not necessarily. If you have prior art documents that would invalidate one or more of the claims, then you are more than welcome to file an ex parte reexamination request. That costs well less than millions of dollars.

And yes, the MPEP has been revised in light of KSR. On the other hand, Bilski is still up in the air because the Supreme Court is going to hear it next year. Believe me, there are a lot of us who want the Bilski dust to settle.

I've always found it sadly hypocritical that /. geeks who have so little patience with people making mistakes on technical issues, when said mistakes can easily be corrected by a little bit of reading, are comfortable making similarly blatantly wrong statements about the US Patent system, when said mistakes can easily be corrected my reading the freely available Manual of Patent Examination Procedure. I mean, seriously, nobody should spout opinions about patentability unless they've read MPEP 2100 through at least once. It's like trying to argue vi vs. emacs when the only text editor you've ever used is Notepad.

Re:That should go over real well (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876501)

I'm sorry...can you rephrase that in the form of a car analogy? Thanks!

Re:That should go over real well (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28876955)

I'm one of the mods who gave you a +1 underrated, despite finding you +1 informative/insightful. Basically, I want to see if the next two mods will jack up this comment to +5 with no label.

That and /. has been giving me ~45 mod points a week and I'm getting bored.

kkthxbye

Re:That should go over real well (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#28877243)

I've always found it sadly hypocritical that /. geeks who have so little patience with people making mistakes on technical issues, when said mistakes can easily be corrected by a little bit of reading, are comfortable making similarly blatantly wrong statements about the US Patent system, when said mistakes can easily be corrected my reading the freely available Manual of Patent Examination Procedure.

Thing is, the "blatantly wrong" statements about the US Patent system appear to predict its behavior better than the gospel according to the Manual of Patent Examination Procedure.

Re:That should go over real well (1)

Lorien_the_first_one (1178397) | more than 4 years ago | (#28877449)

So true, but look at the Blackboard lawsuits. Even during the re-examination, they were still suing Desire2Learn. Now if D2L can go for damages for a frivolous lawsuit, that would be a deterrent.

So yes, I can see your point that doing a little reading can save a lot of money. But it may take more than a re-examination request to stop the sue-train from rolling.

Another stinker from the USPTO (3, Interesting)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875941)

This doesn't just cover podcasting. It covers all "episodic media". Which means prior art for all "episodic media" (including text subscriptions) should count.

If there's anything in there that's at all novel or non-obvious, I can't see it.

Re:Another stinker from the USPTO (2, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876125)

Audioblogging [wikipedia.org]

The RSS Enclosure element was added in 2001 and was used by Radiobloggers.

Just because they didn't call themselves podcasters, doesn't disqualify it as prior art.

It's a pretty obvious desire to copy Audio to a portable device, just like it's an obvious desire to copy Ebooks, Electronic newsletters, Newsgroup postings, or E-mail messages to a mobile device for consumption.

And the method in which Podcast clients were designed to work is pretty obvious, once you define the need: Newsreader for an audio blog.

And old item deletion (good disk space management), were more obvious then than they are now -- disk space used to be more expensive, managing it efficiently would be essential for any application that deals with large files.

Re:Another stinker from the USPTO (2, Interesting)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 4 years ago | (#28877171)

If that is the case, it covering all "episodic media", then prior art goes back to 1994 with "TimeOut Sports Technologies" (who are now bankrupt). They had sports pool software that updated all player data for hockey, football, basketball and baseball which was downloaded by the customer every week using the DataPac network.

I've patented the... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28876019)

I've patented the procedure for 'butt whiping'. Everybody here and the rest of the world PAY UP!

I expect my patent for 'combing hair' will be granted next week so get ready to fork out for that one too.

Re:I've patented the... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28876267)

I expect my patent for 'combing hair' will be granted next week so get ready to fork out for that one too.

good thing I'm bald then! ;-p

Re:I've patented the... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28876391)

Would that patent extend to "manscaping" ? ;-)

Rotten Patent System (2, Insightful)

pubwvj (1045960) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876057)

This emphasizes just how rotten to the core is our patent system. Software patents are asinine. Patents on life are even worse. The whole system should be dumped.

Doesn't the fact that everyone has been doing this (1)

Holi (250190) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876203)

Negate the patent for being obvious and not inventive.

the USPTO could do us all a favor (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876221)

and patent "giving out stupid and trivial patents for things with obvious prior-art"

AvantGo, for one (1)

popo (107611) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876249)

There are hundreds of examples of prior art, but AvantGo in particular, is a company whose entire business was essentially 'podcasting'.

We should all remember that when 'podcasting' became a 'thing', the big criticism of the term was that it pretended to be something new, and credited Apple with something that others had been doing for some time.

USPTO scam continues (4, Interesting)

xednieht (1117791) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876271)

It would never pass the Machine-or-transformation test http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine-or-transformation_test [wikipedia.org]

"machine-or-transformation test is a test of patent eligibility under which a claim to a process qualifies to be considered for patenting only if it : (1) is implemented with a particular machine, that is, one specifically devised and adapted to carry out the process in a way that is not concededly conventional and is not trivial; or else
(2) transforms an article from one thing or state to another."

This test dates back to the 19th century, which leads me to believe the USPTO is more than willing to grant as many patent applications as are submitted regardless of merit. Why would they do that? To collect the fees. The USPTO only gains by granting even the most trivial patents.

IMO, if I were VoloMedia I'd be pissed. In addition to the cost involved in getting this ridiculous patent they will need to spend even more when it is challenged... and retracted.

USPTO scam continues.

Re:USPTO scam continues (0)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#28877255)

It would never pass the Machine-or-transformation test http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine-or-transformation_test [wikipedia.org]

Really? Let's see...

1. A method for providing episodic media, the method comprising:

So far, nothing...

providing a user with access to a channel dedicated to episodic media,

"channel dedicated to episodic media" could be read as tied to a specific machine comprising a channel dedicated to episodic media. A general purpose computer doesn't have a channel dedicated to episodic media. But let's continue...

wherein the episodic media provided over the channel is pre-defined into one or more episodes by a remote publisher of the episodic media;

Remote publisher? Now you're talking about two computers at a minimum... That seems to be tied to a network.

receiving a subscription request to the channel dedicated to the episodic media from the user;
automatically downloading updated episodic media associated with the channel dedicated to the episodic media to a computing device associated with the user in accordance with the subscription request upon availability of the updated episodic media, the automatic download occurring without further user interaction;

Hmmm... "computing device associated with the user". That starts sounding like it's tied to a specific machine - specifically, one associated with the user as opposed to one not associated with the user, or one associated with any user, or one associated with no users.

and providing the user with: an indication of a maximum available channel depth, the channel depth indicating a size of episodic media yet to be downloaded from the channel and size of episodic media already downloaded from the channel, the channel depth being specified in playtime or storage resources, and the ability to modify the channel depth by deleting selected episodic media content, thereby overriding the previously configured channel depth.

And even more so, the means to provide the user with those indications would seem to steer even farther from a non-specific machine.

As for what the specific machine is, I'd recommend looking at the section of the specification titled "Devices and Systems". It seems to describe several specific embodiments.

USPTO scam continues.

It's a sad state of affairs when a supposedly technologically-capable geek posting on Slashdot is unable to even read the farking article and must instead spout his uninformed opinion as fact. May I suggest next time that you attempt clicking the link and reading the article, no matter how long it may take?

Dont you get it ? (2, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876321)

there will be no end to this shit. if you allow patenting of abstract concepts, it will eventually end up with base logic processes being patented. nothing other than machines should be patented.

Machines and software (1)

StreetStealth (980200) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876895)

The problem with your suggestion is that, in the grand scheme of things, it's a purely arbitrary distinction. Machines engage in processes to manipulate matter; software engages in processes to manipulate data.

What needs to be done to fix the patent system is to increase the burden of originality and non-obviousness. Just as patents should not be awarded for obvious machines, patents should not be awarded for obvious software; intricate and original machines as well as intricate and original software should be protected by patent (for a short time, at least).

Re:Machines and software (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#28877295)

The problem with your suggestion is that, in the grand scheme of things, it's a purely arbitrary distinction. Machines engage in processes to manipulate matter; software engages in processes to manipulate data.

What needs to be done to fix the patent system is to increase the burden of originality and non-obviousness. Just as patents should not be awarded for obvious machines, patents should not be awarded for obvious software; intricate and original machines as well as intricate and original software should be protected by patent (for a short time, at least).

Yes... The concept and policy behind denying patenting of algorithms is that we don't want to make it an infringement when someone merely reads a patent and understands the idea. Say, for example, the patent is a method of diagnosing cancer where you (i) measure the amount of chemical X in the blood of a patient and (ii) realize that if it exceeds threshold Y, the patient has cancer. So, if X exceeds Y, the patient has cancer - whoops, you just infringed. You don't need the patient, the patent is on the mere realization, so merely reading the patent is infringement. We don't want that, that's thoughtcrime.

So, what the CAFC was trying to get at in Bilski with the "tied to a specific machine" part is that if the claims require that a computer do process X, then it's not infringement if a person does process X with a pen and paper. It's only infringement if another computer does process X. The specific machine is one programmed to do X, while a general purpose computer is more like the pen and paper and human brain directing it.

The problem with a lot of software patents isn't that they're software... it's that they're obvious. Throwing out software patents to fix problems in obviousness is just silly.

Easy to avoid (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28876485)

Claim 1 is:

1. A method for providing episodic media, the method comprising: providing a user with access to a channel dedicated to episodic media, wherein the episodic media provided over the channel is pre-defined into one or more episodes by a remote publisher of the episodic media; receiving a subscription request to the channel dedicated to the episodic media from the user; automatically downloading updated episodic media associated with the channel dedicated to the episodic media to a computing device associated with the user in accordance with the subscription request upon availability of the updated episodic media, the automatic download occurring without further user interaction; and providing the user with: an indication of a maximum available channel depth, the channel depth indicating a size of episodic media yet to be downloaded from the channel and size of episodic media already downloaded from the channel, the channel depth being specified in playtime or storage resources, and the ability to modify the channel depth by deleting selected episodic media content, thereby overriding the previously configured channel depth.

Drop any element and you avoid this patent. For instant, just add a download confirmation step, and you're golden (thereby avoiding the "automatic download occurring without further user interaction")

Re:Easy to avoid (2, Interesting)

ThatsNotFunny (775189) | more than 4 years ago | (#28877119)

How about this:

receiving a subscription request to the channel dedicated to the episodic media from the user

RSS feeds do not manage subscriptions, they do not receive subscription requests. The act of "subscribing" is no more than the end user having a program that automatically rechecks an XML file that exists somewhere in cyberspace. The USER has to subscribe, the podcaster does not receive any sort of subscription request, they simply host the files. This patent seems like a closed system, where proprietary software is used to manage a subscription and it interfaces with a server that receives and verifies the subscription request. I don't see how traditional podcasting is covered by this at all.

Wasn't there a Podfather? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28876497)

I bet Adam Curry will be jumping on this one.

Sounds like TV (2, Interesting)

thedarknite (1031380) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876693)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but from skimming the patent claims a number of items that they're describing seems very much like a cable television subscription.

Incompetent USPTO people (1)

sunny256 (448951) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876789)

11 expanded comments in this thread, and nearly half of them link to evidence of prior art. WTF are these USPTO people doing at work? How about some investigation before granting the patent, or at least a simple Google search?

Sigh. Utterly useless.

I thought it was Adam Curry (5, Interesting)

okmijnuhb (575581) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876985)

I believe that Adam Curry, (former MTV video jockey) [who incidentally registered the MTV.com domain very early on] played a large part in early podcasting, even as far as coining or spreading the adoption of the term, and lending his hand at coding early pre-iTunes aggregators, until passing the ball to more competent coders, and also having a part in persuading Apple to adopt it into iTunes functionality.

what could happen? (2, Interesting)

GarretSidzaka (1417217) | more than 4 years ago | (#28877025)

I am associate producer at Civilized Communications and create the Civ4 ModCast.

what is going to be fair use? who is going to suffer? indie podcasters or iTunes?

Here's a 2002 example of prior art: (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28877043)

http://web.archive.org/web/20021002080332/http://cbc.ca/quirks/archives.htm

Patent was filed in 2003. The Canadian radio show Quirks and Quarks delivered episodic content as far back as 2002.

Also, portable devices were getting episodes of TV shows automatically upon syncronization:

http://digitalcontentproducer.com/news/video_classic_tv_shows/ (article written in 2002, one year prior to the filed patent).

[quote]
The new channel, which has already launched, and will update daily with fresh episodes of more than five classic television shows including Dragnet, Andy Griffith, Beverly Hillbillies, Dick Van Dyke and One Step Beyond. New episodes of each show will rotate daily.

With this new service, fans of classic TV shows can now watch their favorite episodes on their PDA's - delivered daily to enjoy anytime, anywhere. Each weekday, subscribers will receive a new show on the Pocket PC Films-TV channel. Once subscribed, fresh episodes will appear automatically every day when the user synchronizes their handheld device.
[/quote]

the problem is the abuse not the concept (1)

Miros (734652) | more than 4 years ago | (#28877067)

The crux of the argument is actually invalid as patents are supposed to only be for things which are non-obvious to someone reasonably skilled in the art; which clearly fails in this case if someone were to look at it closely.

not only is there prior art, but if someone in 2003 were tasked with periodically distributing an audio file from a feed possibly all the way to a portable player, I have a feeling they might just try something as simple as an XML feed an an Mp3 file first, and build support for it into a client *gasp*

I think the burden is already pretty high, and the sheer number of patents that are already stuffed into the pipeline (it's so damn long we don't even notice this crap until 3 years after its first submitted) that there is probably not much that will change in the criteria for acceptance anytime soon.

I think the best solution might just be limitations on the protections provided by patent law, and the inclusion of some degree of implied limited use license in certain cases. Patents are so massively abused these days as means to control interoperability. For that, one needs to look no further than the newfangled patented apple connectors for mac book power cords and the iPod dock connector. That kind of crap shouldn't be built on the back of the patent system, if it should even be legal in the first place.

I'm all for protecting the rights of the inventor, and I think the concept of a patent makes sense in the case of some software and for software inventors. But the system is a twisted labyrinth of loopholes exploited by industry to wage war on fair competition while making closed minded investors swoon. that's the freaking problem with patents.

Another new podcasting patent coming soon... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28877089)

I just came home and saw this. I am not a patent lawyer. Did a quick check for other podcasting patents on Google Patent Search, and found this - Application number: 11/166,331, Publication number: US 2006/0265503 A1 Filing date: Jun 25, 2005 titled "Techniques and systems for supporting podcasting" . Is there still room for continued invention of podcasting in 2005? Guess who filed this patent?

The first claim reads:
A method for subscribing to a podcast, said method comprising:
        - receiving a portable subscription file that is used to facilitate subscribing to the podcast;
        - accessing the portable subscription file to obtain podcast information; and
        - subscribing to the podcast using the podcast information.

I am going to post this on a few other forums to raise awareness.

Totally bogus. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28877187)

People have been creating downloadable lists of media forever. ftp would get a list of media content from sites for decades now.

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