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Many in Texas are aware that patents can be applied for not only inventions but also for intellectual property and for communication tools. It was communication tools that were the subject of a recent patent law debate that occurred in the federal courts. It involved podcasts.

The case came after Personal Audio filed a patent in 1996 that was fairly broad and covered a "System for Disseminating Media Content Representing Episodes in a Serialized Sequence." This, of course, affected podcasts, which are used for communication by many people from many different industries and genres. The approval of the patent allowed Personal Audio to initiate lawsuits against many who had podcasts over the years.

The current case was filed in 2013 and took issue with the broadness of the patent. It argued that the patent was overly broad and affected many people in Texas and across the nation. The court initially found for Personal Audio based on the patent law relating to existing art, but more recently, an appeals court held for the plaintiffs, and the patent at question was found to be overly broad. This comes as a relief to many in communications. It remains unclear if Personal Audio will appeal to the nation's highest court. 

Patent law applies to many inventions and industries, including high technology. When patents are overly broad, they can lead to lawsuits and disagreements. This is what happened frequently to many who found themselves in the sights of Personal Audio. Now, these people, and those that come after them, can rest assured that they are safe from this patent and they are able to use podcasts as a form of communication into the future.

Source: techcrunch.com, "Personal Audio loses its appeal for podcasting patent", Brian Heater Fa, August 7, 2017

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