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An infamous patent that trolls use to extract payment from podcasters is kaput.

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has invalidated the key claims in what came to be known as the “podcasting patent.” That decision “significantly curtails the ability of a patent troll to threaten podcasters big and small,” the EFF said:

The “podcasting patent” became big news in 2013, when a company called Personal Audio, LLC, began demanding licensing fees from podcasters including comedian Adam Carolla and three major television networks. Personal Audio doesn’t do podcasting itself, but instead used its patent to claim infringement and collect payouts from actual creators.

In its ruling, the USPTO specifically concluded that Personal Audio’s technology is “unpatentable,” largely because the technology the company tried to patent was “obvious,” or had already been in use by others.

But the EFF said that Personal Audio is continuing to seek payments from podcasters. The EFF said it hopes “the Patent Office does not give [Personal Audio] any more weapons to shake down small podcasters.”


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Personal Audio could not immediately be reached for comment.


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