May 31, 2013
Two years ago, we did a program about a mysterious business in Texas that threatens companies with lawsuits for violating its patents. But the world of patent lawsuits is so secretive, there were basic questions we could not answer. Now we can. And we get a glimpse why people say our patent system may be discouraging, not encouraging, innovation.
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- Host Ira Glass and Zoe Chace from NPR’s Planet Money talk with Jim Logan and Richard Baker of Personal Audio, which claims it holds a patent used by all podcasters. Podcasters, they say, owe them money. Only catch: their company never made a digital podcast or invented a way to download it into a listening device. What they did, back in 1996: they patented the idea that such a thing can be done. Now they’ve asked podcasters to pay them licensing fees ... including Adam Carolla, Stuff You Should Know, Jesse Thorn and Marc Maron, who we hear from. Although Personal Audio says they aren’t asking for licenses from non-profits or public radio at this time, Maron’s and Thorn’s podcasts appear on public radio. (7 minutes)