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VoloMedia's podcasting patent

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VoloMedia's podcasting patent, granted by the USPTO as US7,568,213, is an example of a software patent (specifically, a web services patent) which illustrates many problems of software patents. Many would consider that it is:

  • Not sufficiently inventive to deserve a patent
  • Not an original idea - prior art may exist
  • An idea which the public should have access to

That the patent application was filed in 2003 and granted in 2009 also shows that the USPTO is over-backlogged, and that patent systems' timespans are incompatible with software development and software businesses.

[edit] Possible prior art

According to ReadWriteWeb, podcasting was already in use "by Dave Winer and others in late 2000 and early 2001".[1]

3Com's ERGO Audrey (internet appliance) had a knob and button at the bottom of the unit that was used to select "channels" of downloadable content from various originators http://www.amazon.com/3Com-3C8300AUWHT-01-Audrey-Web-Appliance/dp/B000051JUL (also see Wikipedia entry for Audrey: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3Com_Audrey which lists shipment date as October 2000.)

Debian has been able to download "episodic content" via traditional web services even before rss was defined.

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