Patent Victory for Adam Carolla’s Nemesis

     MARSHALL, Texas (CN) – A company that podcasting comedian Adam Carolla had dubbed a “patent troll” won $1.3 million from a federal jury Monday in its infringement case against CBS.
     Personal Audio LLC sued the television network last year, alleging that its patented “system for disseminating media content” in sequenced episodes was infringed upon when CBS started posting podcasts online of television shows like “60 Minutes” and “Face the Nation.”
     “CBS uses servers, data storage and other Internet hardware and software in a manner that directly and literally infringes claim 31 with respect to at least all the above listed podcasts,” the complaint said. “In the alternative, because the manner of use by CBS differs in no substantial way from language of claim 31, if CBS is not found to literally infringe, CBS infringes under the doctrine of equivalents.”
     A jury on Monday rejected claims by the network that Personal Audio’s patent claims are invalid.     
     Personal Audio did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday morning.
     CBS spokeswoman Shannon Jacobs said the network will appeal the verdict.
     “We believe the decision was faulty,” she said Tuesday.
     Beaumont, Texas-based Personal Audio has filed approximately 14 federal patent-infringement lawsuits in Texas since 2009, Courthouse News Service records show. Its targets have included Apple, Amazon, SiriusXM, NBCUniversal and Fox.
     The company’s 2013 suit against former “Loveline” host Carolla, alleging infringement of the same patent, made headlines when Carolla used his podcast and guest appearances on the popular “Nerdist” and “WTF With Marc Maron” podcasts to denounce Personal Audio as a “patent troll.”
     Carolla, who also used to co-host “The Man Show” with Jimmy Kimmel, decried the suit as a money-grab against podcasting as a whole – a medium he argued is not very profitable.
     Several other podcasts joined Carolla in asking their listeners to donate to the cause, arguing that success for Personal Audio would spell the end of podcasting. Carolla’s FundAnything page – Save Our Podcasts Legal Defense Fund – has raised more than $475,000.
     The parties settled the lawsuit one month ago. Financial details of the settlement were not disclosed, but it is possible Carolla paid nothing because Personal Audio announced in July that it did not want to sue “any podcasters making modest amounts of revenues for infringing” the patent.
     Personal Audio said after the settlement that it dismissed podcasters from other lawsuits because “it was not worth litigating over the amount of damages involved.”
     Citing the “great deal of concern in the podcasting community” over future lawsuits, Personal Audio added that it “would like to again announce that is has no intention of suing podcasters that are marking modest amounts of money from podcasting.”
     “Personal Audio has not intention of suing the following podcasters: (1) the Nerdist; (2) Ear Wolf; (3) Podcast One; (4) Joe Rogan; (5) Marc Maron; and (6) Jay Mohr,” the company said in a statement.

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