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Adam Carolla and the Podcast Patents: The Real Story


Adam Carolla and the Podcast Patents: The Real Story

Adam Carolla is being sued by Personal Audio LLC and has created a FundAnything (crowdfunding site) campaign to raise money for his legal defense.  He is billing this dispute as a patent that will kill off podcasting.  This is the sort hyperbole people who don’t want to pay inventors engage in.  Note Mr. Carolla wants to be paid for his intellectual property.  Since Mr. Carolla is making the standard arguments against inventors who attempt to enforce their property rights, I will examine some of the arguments below.

1.  The inventor will not receive any of the profit from this lawsuit, only a shell company, whose only purpose is to sue people.

One of the inventors on the patent is a serial entrepreneur and is an owner of Personal Audio LLC who is suing Adam Carolla.  James Logan founded MicroTouch Systems in the 80s and served on the on the Board of Directors of Andover.net, the company that acquired Slashdot back in 1999.  He founded, Personal Audio, in 1996.  The original company was Personal Audio Inc. and the patents are now owned by Personal Audio, LLC.  Personal Audio invested $1.6 million developing this technology.  As Mr. Logan points out, when inventors are paid for their inventions it reduces the risk of investing in new technologies.  This increases the willingness of investors to put money into inventions, which results in more advances in technology.  In addition, Mr. Logan explained that he and the company want to see podcasting thrive, because that will maximize their profit.  Killing off podcasting is not the goal of or in the interest of Personal Audio.  Mr. Carolla statements to the contrary are just nonsense.

 

Conclusion: Adam Carolla is spewing BS.

 

 

2.  The inventor never made anything.

As the inventor, James Logan, points out Tesla never made anything either.  Most of Edison’s inventions were sold to companies and he produced nothing, the same can be said of Bell and many of the great inventors of the US.  Mr. Logan points out that many inventors have no interest in manufacturing, marketing, distribution etc.  But today’s system forces inventors to work for a company.  You would think someone in the media would have read Adam Smith and understand division of labor.

In the late 1800s it was quite common for people to specialize in inventing and over 85% of those inventors who obtained a patent eventually sold or licensed it to a manufacturer.  Today the attack on inventors mean that even when inventors have a valid, issued patent that has been upheld in court (Personal Audio v. Apple), people like Mr. Carolla, argue they have the right to steal other people’s inventions.

Note that Mr. Carolla never makes anything.  He sells his comedy, which is just a bunch of words, until a recording device and a transmission device turns that into a product.  Perhaps actors and comedians should not be paid either.

Imagine if actors and authors could not sell their creations without first having a company turn them into a book, movie, or recording?  That is exactly what Mr. Carolla is advocating.

 

Conclusion: Adam Carolla is spewing BS.

 

 

3.  The invention was created by other people independently.

This is a common argument by people who don’t want to pay inventors.  The patent in question was applied for in 1996 and the Patent Office divided the original patent application into three or more patents.  The first patent issued in 2001, so the world has known about this technology for a long time.  This makes the claim of independent invention absurd.  But on top of that according to Mr. Logan these patents have been cited in over 1300 other patents.  Clearly the world was aware of his technology.  The idea of independent invention without knowledge of Personal Audio’s invention is absurd.   The US had a system for disputes between nearly simultaneous inventions until the passage of the American Invents not Act in 2011 and this process was rarely invoked.  The infrequency of this process was a major argument for changing our laws from a first to invent to a first to file.  Independent invention is a diversionary argument, to distract from the fact that people like Carolla want to steal other people’s work.

 

Conclusion: Adam Carolla is spewing BS.

 

 

4.  The patent is not valid and is overly broad.

This is a favorite of the leaches who do not want to pay inventors.  This patent was applied for in 1996.  No one had thought about podcasts at that time.  Few were thinking about sending large files or streaming files.  A high speed modem at the time was 64Kbaud and compression techniques were much more limited.  This invention was ahead of its time so it is very unlikely that there is prior art to invalidate this patent.  As a result of the invention being ahead of its time, it can validly ask for and receive fairly broad claims.  However, the claims do not cover all podcasts, as the hyperbole of Mr. Carolla and other suggest, they are directed to playlists.

Personal Audio LLC sued Apple over these same patents and won.  Apple already raised these issues in court and lost.  It is complete nonsense to suggest that these patents are overly broad and should never have been issued, without providing specific evidence that was not raised by Apple.  Clearly, Mr. Carolla has no respect for the law and more importantly no respect for inventors.

 

Conclusion: Adam Carolla is spewing BS.

 

 

5.  The Patent was applied for on March 4, 2009 and granted on February 7, 2012

This comes from TechDirt which has no compunction about lying about patents.  The patent was filed for in 1996.  TechDirt then argues that the Patent Office is allowing patents too fast.  Imagine if you built a house, bought a stock, or a car and it took three years to obtain title to it.  You would think you were living in a third world country, which is exactly what is happening to inventors.

 

 

 

Mr. Carolla is a hypocrite who thinks artists should be paid for their work, but not INVENTORS.  I bet if I start selling copies of Mr. Carolla’s performances he would sue me in a nanosecond.  He would talk about how I was stealing his work, but inventors are supposed to work for nothing.  Note all the above arguments apply to actors/comedians as well as inventors.




63 Comments

  1. What I do not understand is how the actual podcaster (Adam Carolla) is violating anything. He wants to do a podcast, but does Adam have the knowledge to set this up himself? I doubt it. How can he be sued when someone else is providing this technology to him? He didn’t create a content delivery system, he just wanted to do a podcast and is paying someone else for this technology.

  2. You infringe a patent by making, using, selling, or importing the invention. Mr. Carolla is using the invention, which violates the patent.

  3. Quite an interesting turn of events. Personal Audio now realizes they have no case, and that the Adam Carolla podcast was not quite the cash cow they thought it was, so now they want to drop the case. They have realized they will most likely have their patent claim invalidated by the court, and thus are tucking their tail and running, but now they can’t get out of the suit. Looks like the dog finally caught the mail truck and now it wants no part of it.

  4. Sounds like they just made an economic decision.

  5. You seem to come off like complete dicks, calling names, trying to insult people. Tell me,do you or Mr Logan have any fear of feeling someone point a gun to the back of your heads and blowing your brains out?

    Mr. Carolla has seemed to successfully turned millions of people against you. Not saying its gonna happen, just that is might make a good or some would say “predictable” ending to a TV or Lifetime movie if this thing was ever made into a movie 5 years from now.

    I personally got no problems with you being thieves as long as you aren’t stealing from me.
    But you are PUSSIES for backing out of the Carolla fight.
    Bully for you!!

  6. You have very bad manners.

  7. PA is now running away from the lawsuit against Carolla because they are afraid their patent claim will be invalidated by the courts, and will no longer be able to sue other pod-casters. But now they are stuck. This is great stuff. They are the dog that caught the mail truck.

    Also found it interesting that PA is stating they are dropping the lawsuit because they found out Carolla really isn’t make that much money. Oops. PA is a real crusader for the integrity patent claims – as long as there is plenty of money to be made. Otherwise – meh, not so much.

  8. Seems my comments are coming through, but I’ll try again:

    PA is now running away from the lawsuit against Carolla because they are afraid their patent claim will be invalidated by the courts, and will no longer be able to sue other pod-casters. But now they are stuck. This is great stuff. They are the dog that caught the mail truck.

    Also found it interesting that PA is stating they are dropping the lawsuit because they found out Carolla really isn’t make that much money. Oops. PA is a real crusader for the integrity patent claims – as long as there is plenty of money to be made. Otherwise – meh, not so much.

  9. No it appears to be an economic decision.

  10. One of the requirements of a patent is that the idea behind it be non-obvious. While the patent troll in this case claims that because the Patent Office gave him a patent, it must therefore be non-obvious, decisions made by that office are not eternally carved into stone, and may be challenged at court, as this claim will now be.
    I look forward to the Carolla countersuit’s success, and the destruction of this patent troll in court.

  11. You don’t know the legal meaning of the word nonobvious. These patents were already upheld in court in a lawsuit against Apple.

  12. I find it impressive that you have time to retort to everyone’s comments in such a diligent manner, but that is beside the point. Most reasonable humans (including Adam Carolla) are guided by a moral compass, so therefore, it seams reasonable for Mr. Carolla to not rollover and pay these leaches their claims. I myself, do not disagree that inventors should be payed for their work, but i find it sad that you can patent listing, or “episodic content” as they put it. It is incorrect to label this as an invention, or for Mr. Logan to even claim to be an inventor. I suppose everyone see’s this issue in a different light, but there was no inventing here. The public might sympathize with Personal Audio if there claims were grounded in reasoning and not just an attempt feed off of other peoples success. Just my opinion, though. :)

  13. Really. What is moral about theft?

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