We’ve heard it shouted from the mountaintops more times than we’d care to mention: the patent system is fundamentally broken. But that manner of righteous indignation can often fail to make an impression on those attempting to live their lives unaffected on the sidelines, as hardware behemoths level a seemingly endless string of suits based on often overly broad language. One’s perspective shifts easily, however, when targets change and the defendants themselves are no longer aggressively litigious corporations with an arsenal of filing cabinets spilling over with intellectual property, as was the case when one company used a recently granted patent to go after a number of podcasting networks.
When we wanted to get to the bottom of this latest example in a long line of arguably questionable patent litigation, we phoned up Julie Samuels, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation who has also been designated the organization’s Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents. Samuels has been fighting the battle against dangerously broad patents for some time now, recently traveling to DC to support passage of the SHIELD Act (Saving High-tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes), a congressional bill that would impose heavy fines against so-called patent trolls.
We spoke to Samuels about supposed trolls, podcasts, SHIELD and how those with microphones can make their voices heard.
Note: The owner of the podcasting patent in question declined to comment on the matter.