8:04am PT by Eriq Gardner
CBS Must Pay $1.3 Million for Violating Podcasting Patent
CBS suffered a defeat in a Marshall, Texas, courtroom on Monday when a jury came back from deliberations and awarded $1.3 million to Personal Audio LLC over the TV network's violation of the plaintiff's patent on podcasting. The result came after 18 months of litigation for the patent-holder, which has endured bad press for conducting a wide-ranging legal campaign against those in the media and tech industry who digitally syndicate audio shows.
Personal Audio sued CBS for making over 40 podcasts available for download including the CBS Evening News, 60 Minutes and Face the Nation. The plaintiff based its claims on a patent titled "System for disseminating media content representing episodes in a serialized sequence."
The patent has been subject to much challenge — including ongoing attempts at the U.S. Patent Office — but CBS was unsuccessful in pointing to prior art in having the patent declared invalid. The TV network also looked to undercut the patent by addressing its obviousness, but that argument didn't prevail either.
However, CBS did manage to limit damages to an amount that's likely around the amount of litigation expense. Personal Audio was looking for damages as high as 3.5 percent of royalties. The plaintiff couldn't attain the multiple millions it was seeking, and instead will have to be happy at another feather in its cap in its efforts to force podcast companies to license its technology. The company previously prevailed in winning $12 million from Apple and says it has licensing deals with Samsung, HTC, Sirius and other companies.
A CBS spokesperson says, "We believe the decision was faulty and we plan to appeal."
Next up for Personal Audio are trials against NBC and Fox.