It appears that podcaster Adam Carolla has seized victory from the jaws of the patent troll... or at least a favorable settlement.
As part of the settlement, both the patent troll and Carolla (along with his business partners) agreed to drop claims against each other over use of U.S. Patent No. 8,112,504, describing a "system for disseminating media content representing episodes in a serialized sequence." According to Courthouse News Service, Carolla had raised more than $475,000 for the Save Our Podcasts Legal Defense Fund, which funded Carolla and his podcast entities' legal defense from a patent infringement claim.
As the dust settles on Carolla's bout with the patent troll, what have we learned?
No Public Comment Until October
Although the settlement was reached sometime last week, we won't be hearing any Adam Carolla Show podcast comments about it until at least October. Court records indicate that Carolla (and his company Lotzi Digital) must abstain from publicly discussing the case until October 1, although an exception was made for any podcasts or interviews performed before Friday.
These sort of settlement gag orders are fairly common, and it's one of the benefits of settling as opposed to litigation. In Carolla's case, this legal muzzle is only temporary, and after the "quiet period," the podcast fur can fly.
What's the Patent Troll's Deal?
The patent troll, known more politely as Personal Audio LLC, is a company that sustains itself by suing larger entities for use of its patents, which they believe are infringed by podcasters like former "Loveline" star Carolla. On the other hand, Carolla and supporters believe that if a legal stand isn't made against Personal Audio, the troll will continue to sap money from podcasters by threatening future suits.
In explaining why Personal Audio agreed to drop its lawsuit, the company issued a statement Tuesday explaining that podcasters are so poor, it's not worth the effort to sue them, reports Ars Technica. Personal Audio noted it had no intention of suing "(1) the Nerdist; (2) Ear Wolf; (3) Podcast One; (4) Joe Rogan; (5) Marc Maron; and (6) Jay Mohr," but made no promises about other podcasters.
Unfortunately, since the legal status of Personal Audio's patent remains the same and it's unclear that Personal Audio paid a dime in the settlement, Carolla's victory against the troll may be largely symbolic.
But for inspiring small business owners to stand up to patent trolls, we bid Carolla and supporters a heartfelt mahalo.
- The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Adam Carolla's Settlement with the Podcasting Troll (Electronic Frontier Foundation)
- Adam Carolla Won't Dismiss 'Patent Troll' Podcast Suit (FindLaw's Technologist)
- As Podcasts Increase, So Do Legal Issues (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)
- Newegg, Geico Scalp Another Patent Troll in Ongoing Crusade (FindLaw's In House)