VoloMedia's podcasting patent
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.
 Possible prior art
According to ReadWriteWeb, podcasting was already in use "by Dave Winer and others in late 2000 and early 2001".
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.
 Related pages on en.swpat.org
- Example software patents
- Quality of software patents is particularly bad
- Litigation and specific patents
- C2's VoIP patent
- ReadWriteWeb: Company Receives Patent for Podcasting
- There's a campaign to invalidate this patent, by EFF
- Slashdot discussion which a dozen suggestions for prior art
- Wikipedia: History of podcasting
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