EFF kills bogus Clear Channel digital recording patent

Electronic Frontier Foundation has busted a patent, this time patent #6,614,729 (copy at Google Patent Search).

From the EFF:

The patent covered a system and method of creating digital recordings of live performances. Clear Channel claimed the bogus patent created a monopoly on all-in-one technologies that produce post-concert digital recordings and threatened to sue those who made such recordings. This locked musical acts into using Clear Channel technology and blocked innovations by others.

However, EFF’s investigation found that a company named Telex had in fact developed similar technology more than a year before Clear Channel filed its patent request. EFF — in conjunction with patent attorney Theodore C. McCullough and with the help of Lori President and Ashley Bollinger, students at the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic at American University’s Washington College of Law — asked the PTO to revoke the patent based on this and other extensive evidence.

Revoking illegitimate patents is one way to challenge the patent system, but it is a slow, time-consuming, and expensive process that has a very narrow effect when successful. It takes serious effort to research the prior art . However invalidating patents that harm software developers is incredibly important work (since patents threaten software development) as is campaigning for no more software patents.

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