A company you’ve probably never heard of before announced today that it has been awarded a patent on podcasting. VoloMedia was awarded U.S. Patent 7,568,213 titled "Method for Providing Episodic Media" yesterday. I think the fact that VoloMedia’s Murgesh Navar posted an entry defending the patent before anyone even knew about it underscores just how silly it is.
Here’s what Dave Winer wrote today in response:
I’m certainly not a lawyer or an expert in patent law, but it seems the work Adam Curry and I did in creating the format and protocol for podcasting, in 2001, may have inspired their "invention." It certainly predates it.
Honestly it boggles my mind how software patents are awarded. First of all, VoloMedia applied for the patent in November 2003. Why did it take nearly six years for it to be decided? It’s a cliché, but that’s an eternity on the Internet. Second of all, how could the patent office not discover prior art within those six years? It’s just ridiculous.
According to NewTeeVee, VoloMedia is in talks with Apple and TV networks, among others, “about growing the business and market.” Seriously? I hope VoloMedia fails fast. I really dislike companies that exist solely to sue other companies for violating patents they should never have been awarded in the first place. That’s exactly what VoloMedia is becoming.
For more, check out Ars Technica. Here’s to hoping that VoloMedia’s patent is invalidated.