The EFF is teaming up with Harvard’s Cyberlaw Clinic to challenge a lousy patent that a troll is using as an excuse to sue and send demand letters to podcasters. The EFF needs $30,000 to file the challenge. If you enjoy podcasts (like the ones we offer
) and don't want them to go away, please chip in to fund the EFF's efforts
A couple of months ago we wrote that podcasting was under threat from a patent troll. At that time, a patent troll named Personal Audio LLC had sued three podcasters and sent demand letters to a number of others. Since then, Personal Audio has filed two new lawsuits—this time against CBS and NBC. It has also sent additional demand letters to small podcasting operations. We’ve written often in the past about how patent trolls are a drain on innovation, and this latest troll is no exception. Since many podcasters barely make a profit, or simply do it for love, a shakedown from a patent troll threatens to shut down their program.
As with so many patent troll cases, the troll is asking for money despite having contributed nothing to the industry. By its own admission, Personal Audio tried and failed at its attempt to make an audio player. Having failed at actually making something, it became a shell company that does nothing but sue on its patents. And now it wants a handout from those who worked hard to create popular podcasts.
Researcher Yarden Katz scraped the database of Intellectual Ventures, a giant business that buys up patents, but produces nothing but lawsuits (previously), and discovered that IV claims ownership of nearly 500 patents that were created at public expense by researchers employed by public universities, and another 100 or so patents filed by the US Navy.
The Trolls is a new indie feature about plucky entrepreneurs who have their lives destroyed by patent trolls, so they patent the act of being a patent troll, and turn the tables!
Unified Patents raises money from companies that are the target of patent-trolling and then uses it to challenge the most widely used patents in each of its members’ sectors: now it’s going for the gold.
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