Trollslayers

On 10 April, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) invalidated key aspects of patent-troll Personal Audio’s “podcasting patent” following a petition for review spearheaded by the Electronic Frontier Foundation with assistance from the Cyberlaw Clinic at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society and other pro bono attorneys. Personal Audio had been using the patent to threaten podcasters with lawsuits unless a settlement was paid out.

ORDERED that Petitioner has shown by a preponderance of the evidence that claims 31–35 of U.S. Patent No. 8,112,504 B2 are unpatentable…

A key aspect of the successful petition was the evidence of “prior art” – podcasts or podcast-like productions that pre-dated the patent – which were researched in part through crowdsourcing.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) invalidated key claims in the so-called “podcasting patent” today after a petition for review from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)—a decision that significantly curtails the ability of a patent troll to threaten podcasters big and small…In petitions filed with Patent Office, EFF showed that Personal Audio did not invent anything new before it filed its patent application, and, in fact, other people were podcasting for years previously.
Electronic Frontier Foundation

Classing it up

William Curtis School (Adolf Cluss, 1875), O Street, NW between 32 and 33rd Streets. Razed 1951. DCPS Archives
William Curtis School (Adolf Cluss, 1875), O Street, NW between 32 and 33rd Streets. Razed 1951. DCPS Archives

Those of you out there who went to graduate school, try to think back to the early days….I know the PTSD makes it difficult, but try to remember the beginning of graduate school. Do you remember the required classes that you had to take?  These classes were a mostly a hodge podge of random professors talking about either their own work, or a concept they may not even be familiar with. I read a Commentary in the journal Cell the other day that gives me hope that schools will consider modifying their graduate curriculum and spend more time on teaching. Continue reading “Classing it up”