Patents finally jump the stupidity curve – Podcasting gets patented

I can understand the need for patents as companies, and individuals, can spend same fortunes creating new products and need some way to protect those large investments. What I don’t get is how some of the simplest things whether they be common Mexican beans right through to technology related things even see daylight without getting tossed.

Case in point VoloMedia a portable media analytics and advertising company, has just been granted patent number 7,568,213 for “method for providing episodic media” – in other words, podcasting. Well that is how they are interpreting it at least, as the patent covers the fundamental mechanisms of podcasting, This includes providing consumer subscription to a show, automatically downloading media to a computer, prioritizing downloads, providing users with status indication, deleting episodes, and synchronizing episodes to a portable media device.

In the press release Murgesh Navar, founder of VoloMedia says

“As consumers recognize the convenience of automatic downloads for episodic media, podcasting has gone mainstream with major media companies and more than 37 million U.S. consumers engaged. This automatic downloading of episodic media closely resembles how one-third of U.S. households are using a DVR to watch television today. This patent recognizes our technical leadership in setting the trend for a broad-based movement towards downloading episodic television shows and making them portable,”

As Mike Masnick over at Techdirt points out there is more than enough prior art that should have made this patent application laughable

I have a lot of trouble understanding how this is possibly patentable. I would think that Dave Winer’s work on enclosures for audio content in RSS would be seen as significant prior art. Beyond just the prior art, you have to wonder how this passes the “bilski” test (what was transformed here?) or the KSR/Teleflex test on obviousness (this is simply combining things that were already out there).

Ii should be interesting to see what happens when the company decides to start going after podcasters (Leo Leporte anyone?).