Friday, February 14, 2014

Personal Auto patent troll case (claim about podcasting) results in unprecedented subpoena of donor for defense

A company called Personal Auto, with convenient headquarters in litigation-friendly East Texas, has sued a few content providers claiming patent violation.  These include Apple, and the Adam Corolla, for “How stuff works”, Togi Entertainment, and “How Stuff Works”.  Apparently it is claiming that it owns a patent even on the concept of a podcast – syndicated, downloadble episodic content. 
I suppose in theory self-syndication of a blog could qualify. I’ve tried this only once, with my TV reviews blog.  Could I be contacted?
Tech Dirt has the story here.
In defending the suit, Electronic Frontier Foundation raised some money and now, as Joe Mullin of Ars Technica explains, Personal Auto is trying to get a pre-discovery list of the donors subpoenaed, which has very chilling implications for civil procedure, at least in patent cases, maybe in all civil litigation (at least in Texas).  The link to the story is here

Daniel Nazer posted EFF’s response on Jan. 29, 2014, here.
This is surely one of the most shocking cases of patent trolling that I have heard of.

Update: March 5, 2014

Electronic Frontier Foundation reports that it succeeding in blocking Personal Auto's subpoena of the names of donors, link by Daniel Nazer  here.

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